Okay Kaya: Watch This Liquid Pour Itself (Jagjaguwar) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, August 10th, 2020  

Okay Kaya

Watch This Liquid Pour Itself

Jagjaguwar

Jan 22, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


There's a blindsiding brute force to much of Watch This Liquid Pour Itself, Kaya Wilkins' second record under the Okay Kaya moniker, and her first released on Jagjaguwar. For bedroom pop that's often melodically velvety (even as it's refreshingly sonically diverse) her astute self-targeted observations never constitute a pulled punch.

This pointedness is revealed early on through a darkly comic series of observations on album opener "Baby Little Tween": "I ride the mood/Baby little tween/Mood riding/Riding on your dick." The way Wilkins shifts from cautiously floating across her warm pillowy synth pads to a heavier, sardonic enunciation on "dick" bridges the gap between her fluctuating moods and their earthier repercussions. Being low doesn't negate being horny.

More than anything Wilkins captures the contradictory disconnect those that experience depersonalisation are subject to in our always-connected world. Watch This Liquid Pour Itself is as much about the fear of an unannounced panic attack as it is the creeping overstimulation casually scanning through feed after feed leads to. Just because you can post a witty self-deprecating tweet, doesn't mean you can always reply to a flooded inbox.

Wilkins is further aware that millennials are essentially the middle children of our asexual Internet parents, caught between the semi-savvy Gen Xers and the scarily literate Zoomers. On  "Stonethrow" she sings "I am becoming what the kids these days call insecure," acknowledging that definitions are ever shifting, pitched somewhere between hyper-honest online diary entries à la Rupi Kaur and the if-you-know-you-know meaning vacuum of ironic memes.

This Internet literacy even spreads into Wilkins' ode to hiking, "Mother Nature's Bitch." Written following some mountaineering in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway (where now-New Yorker Wilkins was raised), the language used to express her wonder at her own exertion is both self-deprecating and uniquely rooted in a specific online context. "Here I am/Being Mother Nature's bitch/Here I am/The whole world is my daddy," she sings, implicitly acknowledging how once strictly sexual language is now wry shorthand for wider interpersonal dynamics.

Whilst her lyrics are clearly the bedrock, Wilkins songwriting extends well beyond her words. Whether on the borderline euroclub camp of "Asexual Wellbeing," or the downbeat disco of "Mother Nature's Bitch," Wilkins never restricts herself to the lo-fi production found on other bedroom pop. Even touches as simple as looping her own vocals to form a choir of angels on the half-eye-rolling half-smirking "Hallelu Ya Hellelu Me" shows the scope to her vision.

That scope still has pitfalls though. Not everything here works, and whilst it's a relatively brief record at under 40 minutes, Wilkins still clocks through 15 tracks. There's nothing that's bad per se, and Wilkins' drum loops and interpolated samples hold an interest, but there's no denying that the first half of Watch This Liquid Pour Itself is much more immediate than the second, with tracks like "Helsevesen" and "Stonethrow" being just a little too wispy.

It's telling that Wilkins' liner notes and lyrics are all written in lowercase, much in the manner of an old Tumblr account, since Wilkins spends much of her second record outlining her own personal pocket universe. Both analog and digital; online and deeply internal, Watch This Liquid Pour Itself represents a strong claim as one of the first great records this year. (www.okay-kaya.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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