(Photo Credit - Shervin Lainez)
Advance Review - Katie Von Schleicher: Consummation (May 22, 2020)
While Katie Von Schleicher started off with collaborative group Wilder Maker, she has far excelled as a solo act. Her first full length album, Shitty Hits (2017), was well received, with especially high praise by Pitchfork and Popmatters. With her second studio album appearing May 22nd, Schleicher excels further into her own sound of lo-fi ballads and “baroque pop”, creating tracks that are uniquely individual while also meandering through a dark dreamscape cohesively. Consummation is based on Hitchcock’s Vertigo, only from the perspective of the female. Schleischer borrows the term “consummation” from writer Rebecca Solnit's essay about the film. She writes that consummation is the “wandering, stalking, haunting” pursuit of love.
Schleicher’s lead single from the album, “Caged Sleep”, comes accompanied by a music video directed by Matt Strickland. About the single, Schleicher is quoted “While the rest of the songs were being mixed, I had a vivid dream with a snake the color of lapis lazuli. That became ‘Caged Sleep,’ an ode to a dream that ended a period of my life. Some people hate dream stories, so for those humans: I have included saxophones, synthesizers and claps to court your attention” Within the video, the snake takes shapes of a nun that doesn’t quite appear to be chasing Schleicher, per say, but they’re always in the background. The camera focuses on her eyes- at the beginning she’s in a dead stare and then her eyes lighten up, accompanied with a devilish smirk. Either a descent into madness or acceptance of the unknown is open for interpretation.
When talking about the writing process for the album, Schleicher is open about how easy most of it was for her, coming to this realization as she wrote the album track by track. Really, the only connection she makes among tracks is how adamant she was that “Strangest Thing” and “Can You Help?” go together. “Strangest Thing” was a mere exercise. It was never intended to stay on the album but it reminded her of listening to records with her grandparents and she became smitten with typical guitarist and Bassist, Adam, remembering how to play the clarinet. “Can You Help” followed a similar mode of writing- the pair deciding to write and record a song one day. When talking about the tracks in a write up for American Songwriter, Schleicher talks about how after the chorus was written in the van outside BSP Kingston before a show and the rest was written in her kitchen in 15 minutes.
The album ends on “Nothing Lasts” with familiar sounds similar to what was heard on Shitty Hits. It finds a common ground for those listeners who like consistency within an artist in a “return of form” of sorts, while also teasing listeners that like to see a progressive sound by not hinting at the tone of the next album. This song seems somber, especially with how rapidly the world around us changes just as the modes of how we listen to music do as well. Regardless, Schleicher remains adamant about the importance of the full length albums.
Schleicher has earned her spot on my Artists to Watch List.
Rating - 4.5/5