Kim Richey - Every New Beginning

Yep Roc Records


Over a thirty-year career, Kim Richey has forged her own brand of popular romanticism: wistful melodies, unmistakable voice brimming with precarious idealism, and lyrics that conjure loss and longing. Romantic works of literature, art, and music exude palpable melancholy and an attunement to what’s missing in life. In this way, all too often, our lives are portrayed as inevitably incomplete and lasting relationships almost certainly doomed. Kim’s oeuvre reflects a signature style, the singer-songwriter never straying far from classic romantic tropes—at the same time, avoiding obvious repetition by continuing to broaden her musical purview. From project-to-project, Kim’s music has varied slightly, but her sometimes dreamy and at other times more rootsy soundscapes have remained a unique and beautiful constant. She is a songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist who defies being pigeonholed into one genre or another, but every project she’s done is its own unique gift for the listener. EVERY NEW BEGINNING is her tenth album, and it certainly lives up to its title. A record that is restless and unpredictable, that sees genre as fluid and songwriting as spiritual—an outlet for recovery and escapism. 

A project that balances retro tendencies with a forward-thinking, appropriately slick sheen. The bittersweet Chapel Avenue packs all the complexities of childhood memories of home—being close to it or far away—into four gorgeously aching minutes and shows us the subtle power Kim wields with deeply affecting sensitivity. Leaving home is the central theme in the pop-driven Goodbye Ohio, with lyrics which are revealingly nuanced and well-crafted articulations of moving on from a relationship and all that is familiar. Come Back To Me is also a bit of a star track. It is something of a genre-bender—part bluegrass, part pop, with a touch of rootsy vocals, particularly in the mid-stanzas.

She travels deep into Memphis soul with Feel This Way, a heartbreaker full of forlornness, driven along by haunting B3 lurking beneath the steadily layered production. Guitars echo around Kim’s soulful tones before a powerful electric break rises out of the mist as the song pulses and surges with inner strength. There is no song more at the heart of what Kim is saying about the fragility of a relationship than The World Is Flat. In it, she sings about love slipping through her fingers during the song's exploration of her plainspoken yet profound contemplation on the inevitability of a break-up. 

There is a reflective vibe to A Way Around, a mid-tempo tune wallowing in sad memories, listening to favourite records and almost drowning in trying to find a way past the longing and loneliness. She ups the tempo with Joy Rider, a song co-written with near-neighbour Tasjan (Aaron Lee). Inspired by a defiant teenager, who rode his noisy motorbike around the local streets during lockdown. Driven by piano and drums, this will have your feet tapping as the catchy chorus takes a hold in this inspiring song of tenacity and spiritedness. 

Working with producer Doug Lancio and regular collaborators Dan Mitchell and Neilson Hubbard, Kim demonstrates a genius for creating melodic spaces by layering instruments and intertwining vocals with those instruments. The approach pays off, imbuing tracks like Floating On The Surface, with its gorgeous harmonies and the closing Moment In The Sun, which features Kim’s most delicate vocal, with a modern sensibility. A continued exploration into the sounds she first started exploring way back in the mid-1990s, this is arguably Kim Richey’s finest work and one of the most exquisite albums I’ve heard so far this year.

May 2024