First three adjectives that come to mind when listening to this album:
Three favorite songs on album:
"My Nerves That Committed Suicide"
Kaki King defies categories because of her expertise across musical styles and genres. She is a virtuoso, and with Junior, she has hit her musical stride. The eleven track album flows congruently from beginning to end. There is a maturity that emanates like a sunrise from King's voice. Her voice no longer hides behind her technical skills on the guitar as it has in past albums. She has married the two on Junior.
Junior deals with a variety of themes, from espionage to heartbreak, without tripping. There are only a few tracks that have no vocals, but these tracks capture me with their eerily comforting composure. They have hints of jazz mixed with a touch of melancholy.
Play by play of my favorite three songs:
"My Nerves That Committed Suicide" is haunting, yet intriguing. The slide guitar and horn mixed with fervent picking leads into a full culmination with heavy drums included. This track is peaceful and unsettling at the same time. It feels strangely cinematic.
"Communist Friends" caught me off guard. Its infectious strumming, pulsed with quick beats, leans directly on the on the verge of power pop. King's wilting "Oh's" fit perfectly with the line "So you're gonna die / Says your receding black line," but the breakout guitar solo towards the end of the track steals the show.
"Sunnyside" fills up the last slot on Junior. King's candid vocals sing, "Yeah, I fucked up good and well / And you put me through fucking hell / But good luck finding someone who can love you / Better than I." This track shows a vulnerability and intensity backed by sheer talent.
Junior's design appears to be a throwback to old school propaganda posters with a touch of graphic novel. Its lightening bolts, solid color imagery, and clean typography matched with a color scheme consisting of dark reds, neutral tones, and black is striking and blends together well.
The artwork itself is the album sleeve. Unfortunately it doesn't contain lyrics. It does however contain an outstanding black and white image of Kaki King that captures the moodiness of the entire album.
On a side note...I managed to accidentally grab the "deluxe edition" of Junior. It contains an extra disc which not only has multiple Kaki King music videos, but it also contains a 2008 solo performance at the Berkeley Church in Toronto. The bonus material is a must for anyone interested in watching Kaki in her element. I was completely mesmerized watching it.
Pixies, Come On Pilgrim (1987)