Here’s a new album that’s worth a listen…it’s by Noah Kite and it’s called Drunk Lil Guy.
It’s one thing for an album to trace the path of a relationship along its traditional arc; early curiosity expands into lunatic passion before cooling to inertness. But what if that line were not a curve at all, but instead a jagged sawtooth of highs and lows thrusting the listener into the air before crashing them into the dirt below? Well that would be a much more visceral, and accurate, telling of the modern relationship. That is the story of Drunk Lil Guy, the latest album from chamber folk innovator Noah Kite (due out September 3rd).
The son of an acting coach and a therapist, Kite seems to have it in his DNA to blend the dramatic and analytic. Each musical wave crest and fall mirrors a turn in the story. Instruments rest for minutes before suddenly emerging. Emotions and motifs sustain and then drop into oblivion. The tone switches suddenly from accusation to epiphany. It is the sound of someone going through it. Alongside the the musical tumult, the steady voice of Kite never loses his cool despite the searing intimacy of the song’s content. He thoughtfully guides us through the story of his relationship, in as well as struggles with friends, substances, sex and codependency. He has been clearly affected by the proceedings, but is determined to stare into them without blinking.
Kite harbors deep appreciation for both the harmonic palette and the spirt of collectivism employed by fellow art/folk/pop auteurs Steely Dan, Fleet Foxes or Sufjan Stevens. While no stranger to composition himself, he enlisted a team for Drunk Lil Guy; UK Producer Sebastian Rogers, Laura Gershman on Oboe/English Horn, Alan Cook on Percussion, Colin Corner on the upright bass, with Esme Schwall providing cello and backing vocals. The agency newly given to bandmates brings a three dimensionality to the music. Each instrumentalist is an established voice, rather than movie-strings backing.
The album’s production proved as chaotic as its subject matter. Months of rehearsal were leading to a grand full-band live recording session. The pandemic shuttered these plans mere days before recording was to begin. The band altered course to record individually at Magic Closet Studios, providing flexibility and space for further development. Like the angular flight path of the album’s core conflict, altered plans and shattered exceptions were reformed into something all the more beautiful.