Mo Kenney in the UK

The Rocking Magpie reviews In My Dreams

mokenneyWonderfully Atmospheric and Well Crafted Songs.

By The Rocking Magpie

Billed as a singer-songwriter Canadian Mo Kenney’s album In My Dreams sounds a lot more like a band effort; although one with a helluva lead singer.

Even a hardened old cynic like me got caught in Mo’s headlights when I first heard the bitter-sweet I Faked It which opens the album. An excellent arrangement and Kenney’s deceptively innocent voice masks a very clever song indeed.

Those who know me and my reviews know that I ‘collect lyrics;’ not writing them down you understand, but sometimes a line or a couplet stands out and must be quoted; again and again and again; especially if they are humorous.

The opening couple of lines from Take Me Outside go straight onto that list!

‘Take Me Outside/and blow my fucking head off’ (then there’s a pause)…..’with your eyes/it’s alright.’

Wow! That certainly got my attention. The song is an absolute cracker too.

It’s proving very difficult to pigeon-hole Mo Kinney for you as she sounds a bit like a Bangles/Ryan Adams mash-up with a Phil Spector influenced feedback drenched/bass overload throughout. But, of course she sounds nothing like that at all.

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The Ruckus: LISTENING GAME – 17/08/15

By The Ruckus

It’s all go here at Ruckus HQ. Leeds Festival looms large in the background and is taking up the majority of our time right now. I won’t bore you with the details, but a lot of planning goes into our coverage every year. So much so, that even when we get on site we’re feeling weary. Still, it must be done and we can’t really moan – I know how enviable a position it is so there really should be no ‘boo-hooing’ about it and there’s not. We’re excited to go back, but first there’s a bunch of new tunes to listen to and that is what’s at the forefront of my mind every Monday.

This week we’re lucky enough to be hearing new tunes from The Lion And The Wolf, Mo Kenney and Tender Defender. So let’s get to it shall we?

Mo Kenney – ‘Telephones’

The deconstruction of a bad relationship and the cycles people fall into is the subject for Mo Kenney’s ‘Telephones’. An anti-love song, this straightforward, introspective and occasionally comedic track delves deep into the songwriter’s darkest thoughts and the outcome is blunt to put it lightly. The way Kenney juxtaposes the happiest and most heartbreaking parts of the relationship works really well and the song’s beautiful, guitar-driven, melody almost makes you forget the true nature of the track. If you’re like me, you’ll be singing along long before you realise what’s really going on here. Clever.

Click here to see the rest of The Listening Game.

Three Chords and the Truth reviews In My Dreams

cover

By Three Chords and the Truth

Once you’ve spent thirty minutes in the musical presence of Mo Kenney, the spell of her magnetic appeal is a lasting emotion. The event referred to was the support slot Mo played for Rachel Sermanni last year and once hooked you eagerly await the next move. Well in the UK, the follow up to Mo’s debut album, which was a popular purchase on the aforementioned evening, is now about to be released and it further enshrines the enigma that is Mo Kenney. Instantly the more ratchetted up sound will hit your senses hard as IN MY DREAMS steers you away from the previous sensitive song writer into an artist with a greater profound impact.

Of course this is likely to be your introduction to Mo Kenney and be prepared for an unconventional record where a pop tinge belies the deep and dark undertones buried within the lyrical substance. Bordering on insular and heavily in explorative mode, this album challenges itself to maximise the impression in its thirty minute duration and is forever fascinating in its reception. Mo’s appealing vocals sit well alongside a multitude of instrumentation under the direction of Canadian music icon Joel Plaskett. Including Mo, the team of players is only a trio, but they collaboratively add a depth to the ten tracks which make up this record.

Four tracks with contrasting traits make a case for the soul of the record as the intensity unravels to reveal an artist with plenty of emotion to explore through the lyrics. Apart from ‘Telephones’, one of the four and characterised by an infectious beat, Mo has a hand in writing the other nine songs either as a solo piece or co-write project. ‘Take Me Outside’ is the song which probably packs the most powerful punch with a slice of explicitness to make a far from subtle point. ‘Pretty Things’ and ‘In My Dreams’ see Mo in a more reflective mode than the general mood of the record with the former a laid back number with an effective moment of dreamy melodica, while the latter sees a return to the sensitive and milder side of Mo.

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No Depression reviews In My Dreams

By Cara Gibney, No Depression

coverI’m not sorry that it hurt
when I took your heart apart

‘cause I liked it
I remember how it felt
when I fell in love with someone
and they hit below the belt

My. There’s the other side of being crushed like a bug. “I faked it” has the shrug of past caring down pat. It even has a vaguely upbeat tempo just to rub salt into the wounds. Mo Kenney’s voice lacks effort. It is strong and fresh and dare I say content, as she devastates this poor sod. And those lines about the ice melting in the glass – bloody hell.

If you don’t have time to chase up any other tracks from Kenney’s In My Dreams, chase this. The Canadian singer-songwriter is releasing the album on 4th September. The album lurches from the cruel backlash of love in songs like “I faked it,” to wistful yearnings for love in title track “In My Dreams.” It recognises lonely despair, and it assesses the dehydration of love left out overnight. Her guitar playing carries all these weights. At times gently plucked and at other times it is fuzzy and slightly rocky – with a gamut of variations in between.

Kenney’s voice and the sweet harmonies in “Wind Will Blow” remind me of English artists like Rozi Plain or This Is The Kit. Again the lyrics are gripping. “I like the things that you create” she tells the subject of this song, as the guitar provides a sepia backdrop for her words; words that go on to talk about how this person runs through her like a blade. The scene is set, but the plot keeps shifting.

Then we have “Take Me Outside” with its Beatle-like intro to the opening lines:

take me outside
and blow my fucking head off
with your eyes, it’s alright

Sounds like the beginning of a powerful falling-for-you love song huh? Not a bit of it. There’s booze, and there’s blood and there’s not being able to last a year if she’s on her own. In the middle of all this Kenney’s voice is quite beautiful, it sounds young and unaffected. There are other songs on the album that would fall easier into the ‘beautiful’ category, this isn’t one of them. It is poppy, slightly rocky, with great 70s harmonies, and again the crafty happy beat belies what is being said.

I’ve been playing the CD in my car and after a few listens there isn’t one track that I fast forward. Keep an eye out for it in September.

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