Monday, 26 October 2009


For Student Direct.

Karen O and the Kids

Karen Orzolek is back with a sweet vengeance. She and her Kids do something presumably tricky, painting playful yet daunting mystical creatures into a something that resembles music. This soundtrack owns a poignant darkness; something which Spike Jones’ movie adaptation of cartoon Where the Wild Things Are surely epitomises. Lo and behold an unequivocally much-awaited soundtrack to an animation that has entertained adults and children alike for over forty years; the music lives up to the pastime, and inspired by a text consisting of only nine sentences, brilliantly outdoes itself.

‘Capsize’ possesses the chanting, clapping wonderful sounds reminiscent of both Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV and the Radio collaborated (though sadly Sitek does not appear) and clearly Karen O the writer has not held back her own lingering and unavailing style for this album; it simply fits so neatly with the tone of the film she need hold any artistic expression.

Bradford Cox makes his presence known on this record perhaps not quite as prolifically as anticipated; his vocals are washed away all too often, perhaps stifled and shadowed by Karen who deservedly steals every song’s show from the Kids - consisting of Cox, Jack Lawrence, Brian Chase, Aaron Hemphill, Dean Fertita and the elusive but ever-present Nick Zinner, to name a few. Romantic expression within an otherwise all-attentive collection of songs is explored with ‘Hideway’ - it tugs at the heart strings of the broken-hearted and forlorn, urging the listener/spectator to wonder what scene it is attached to. Building All Is Love is positively cute and the kiddie choir fused with Karen’s vocals and lovely major chords make for a track in some way reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s work.

The album of course owns the tribal sound that resonates about any of O’s work, but does so in a more laid-back nevertheless tyrannical manner. She basically, dare I say hauntingly, hums her way in and out of each track, and this is surely enough to make the record striking and satisfactory enough for WTWTA creator Maurice Sendak himself. Karen and the Kids totally win with this.


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