K.Flay had an ambitious concept with her new EP, ‘Inside Voices’. Overrun with intrusive thoughts she’d previously pushed down and hidden, the singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist decided to give them a full platform and face uncomfortable truths head on.
In her life before music, K.Flay started out on an academic path in neuroscience and psychology, and this expertise in brain function gave her the outline to investigate these inside voices and channel them towards something productive. What came out of it are five tracks of uncensored emotion that demand an audience.
‘Four Letter Words’ sets things up for some uncorked feeling, “I’m usually nice, but just for tonight I wanna be mean, I wanna fight, I wanna say things I been keeping inside.” The grimey rap-rock riff stinks of that post break-up desperation, but releases the tension and anger felt in such a situation.
‘Good Girl’ is what would happen if Avril Lavigne‘s ‘Girlfriend’ grew up, with its bubblegum pop undercut by venomous vocals. Things get a little bit more rap-orientated for closer ‘My Name Isn’t Katherine’, an auto-biographical track and the most psychologically rich where K.Flay intellectualises the one piece of knowledge we take for granted the most: our own name.
The EP boasts more than its fair share of impressive cameos, with input from both Travis Barker (Blink-182) and Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine). The former contributes drums to ‘Dating My Dad’, which laments the cyclical and inescapable nature of time. K.Flay graciously gives space to Barker to let his work drive the song forward with a melodic beat, keeping her own voice more subdued for a real contrast. Morello‘s work on ‘TGIF’ is more of a supporting role until the gratuitous guitar solo which gives him space to play – knowing that he’s in the building means we’re kind of just waiting for it to arrive. Nevertheless, ‘TGIF’ is an incredible anti-capitalist anthem that’s perfect for anyone who eschews the standard 9-5 for a freer life.
K.Flay has done us all a favour by making this personal exploration public, so that we might all make this journey of self-discovery with her. For that, we should be grateful.