KAZU: Adult Baby (Adult Baby) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

KAZU

Adult Baby

Adult Baby

Sep 13, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


When you hear Adult Baby, it's impossible not to think of Blonde Redhead. After all KAZU is the project of Blonde Redhead's vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kazu Makino. But when you listen to Adult Baby you'll notice the looser song structures and the presence of more electronic textures, making it a more mysterious and experimental album than the typical Blonde Redhead release.

First single "Salty" is a poignant album opener and brings back memories of the peaceful whimsy and delicate sensuality of Björk's 2001 LP Vespertine. And the similarities don't end there. Makino experiments with multiple effects and vocal loops, creating layered and subtly shifting foundations of moody electronic textures with a narcotic ambience, to which she adds melody with her exquisitely dreamy vocals. And like Björk, they require concentration and absolute attention by the listener to decipher the lyrics.

Along with "Salty," other standout tracks include "Come Behind Me, So Good!," "Meo," and the title track "Adult Baby." All four tracks mesmerize and dazzle with intricate and hypnotic, albeit leisurely melodies, with delicate piano and slowly rolling drums. The latter two add a touch of melancholic strings making them feel richer and more placating than the rest.

But some other tracks are less imaginative and not as gratifying. The hazy layers are seldom peeled away and the melodies are more nebulous and diffuse, leaving only Makino's waiflike vocals to entertain. Case in point is "Place of Birth," which is nothing more than a glorified remake of the "Chopsticks" waltz with electronic insect chatter as a backdrop.

Some patience and repeated plays may be needed to digest all of the aesthetics offered on Adult Baby. And those expecting a continuation of the dense, eclectic art rock of Blonde Redhead may be disappointed as the tracks offered on her first solo LP are more conceptual musical ideas than fully formed songs. 

Overall, Adult Baby is an inconsistent album that can be a wistful and sluggish electronic experiment but also shows flashes of brilliance with a genuinely entertaining mix of dream pop and electronica brought to life with a beautiful voice. (www.facebook.com/kazumakinoofficial/)

Author rating: 6/10

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