Kim Richey: Thorn In My Heart

Thorn In My Heart is unusual. It’s a grower, not a shower, in that it’s not flashy and requires repeated listening to understand the divergence between the downbeat lyrics and the more upbeat music. Because Richey sings so well it’s impossible not to be drawn into what is something like an alternative female take on Darkness on the Edge of Town; “this old town is tired of trying/this old town is on its knees/this old town is busy dying/you’re the only hold on me” (“Come On”). The upbeat moments are fringed with a longing for escape (“Breakaway Speed”, “I’m Going Down”), and there’s a listlessness pronounced by the production which adds to the overall tone of things gone wrong. “No Means Yes” faces the dilemma of illicit liaisons with original compassion, when “it feels so right to be so wrong”, and the dark instrumentation of flugelhorn on “London Town” and spooky clarinet on “Love Is” give this record a distinct world of its own. Richey’s voice is beautiful and the song-writing is excellently panoramic, but you have to be willing to face some existentialist doubt to be able to enjoy it all: “now I’m sitting in the middle of the wrong place/with a drink in my hand a long face” (“Something More”). As a result, Thorn In My Heart is a fragile, delicate triumph.

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Label: Lojinx
Release Date: 15 APR 2013

FIRST PUBLISHED BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS (ISSUE 81)