Kitsune


Band: Marriages
Album: Kitsune
Best song: “Ride in my Place”
Worst song: “Pelt” is the least conventional, but the album plays like one giant song.

My lack of writing in this space exposes two things. The first is that I’m a lazy sack of crap and need to work more on getting more reviews up. A scant seven years ago, I did two reviews a day and now I can’t even get to one a month. Pathetic.

The other exposing thing is that I still haven’t written about the first Marriages EP, Kitsune. Part of this is because I’m a lazy sack of crap (see above), but a larger part is the thing I’ve said about Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (and other records): Writing about an album that is so very meaningful is so very difficult. I’m not nearly a skilled-enough writer to express why Kitsune is such a powerful record.

I didn’t get into Kitsune until a year and a half after its release and its greatness is amplified by its successor, Salome (released earlier this month). Kitsune is an EP, but it’s more that it’s akin to a half-hour song. Comparing it to Salome — a more conventional collection of songs — is what makes Kitsune so very impressive.

(It’s not to say that Salome isn’t a great record. It is. It’s just not on the level of Kitsune or even Emma Ruth Rundle’s solo Some Heavy Ocean.)

The best records, in my eyes, are thematic. I’m sure some of this is based on my own lack of intelligence, but I still like to listen to entire albums and when there’s a through-line — be it lyrical, tonal, etc. — that makes the record lovely. These things don’t have to be overt or even concrete and albums do not need ot be rock operas like the output from Mastodon for 10 years. Rather, the record needs to feel like a record to be truly great.

Kistune is that. With a muddy yet somehow compressed production, the album is decidedly minor key and expansive. Rundle’s vocals are — from her own admission — put under effects, giving songs like “Ten Tiny Fingers” and “Part the Dark Again” an ethereal feel. Ultimately, her non-processed vocals have that spirit as well — check out live versions of the record or, of course, Some Heavy Ocean — but the added layers give Kitsune an atmospheric quality.

More importantly, Rundle’s status as a guitar hero in the vein of David Gilmour is what makes her projects stand apart. She works well in acoustic settings (SHO‘s final few songs are gorgeous acoustic ruminations on death), the Nocturnes’ “The Color” has her picking on a reverbed chord like a country singer and, of course, Kitsune has her doing the “less is more” thing. Whether it’s in tapping lead guitar line of “Ride in My Place,” the slow solos that recall the best of Animals or the rolling riffs on “White Shape,” the notes Rundle lets hang and the notes Rundle leaves out work in perfect harmony.

Again, I am aghast at how much I’ve loved and listened to Kitsune and cannot properly put into words the greatness within that record. I would simply implore anyone reading this to listen to it front to back. It’s only 25 minutes out of your day. Shit. Do it here.

You’ll thank me.

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