Album: The Bluest Star
Artist: Free Cake for Every Creature
Sub-Genres: Indie, Indie Pop, Lo-fi
Label: Double Double Whammy
Non-Airable Tracks: Riding into the Sunset in a Busted Car
‘The Bluest Star,’ the third album from Philadelphia musician Katie Beckett’s project Free Cake for Every Creature, came out on August 3rd via Double Double Whammy records. This release is a grounding and confident presence – in songwriting, in theme, and in the band finding their footing together as musicians and moving towards a defining (but not necessarily definite) sound. In contrast to their previous release, ‘Talking Quietly of Anything with You,’ which was characterized by the transitions, aimlessness, and often chaos that comes with early adulthood, ‘The Bluest Star’ represents the movement towards a more self-assured, rooted, and realized state.
Beckett pushes forward with new ideas and musical growth while still maintaing the lo-fi, fuzzy sincerity in her songwriting that she’s become known for. This is a very intimate record, both in terms of sound and overall feeling. Beckett, along with long-time band mates Heeyoon Won and Francis Lyons, recorded this album in her home in West Philadelphia – throughout, you can hear little snippets of a passing car or the sounds of city life on the other side of the walls, along with all the little crackles, fuzz, and other quirks that often come with bedroom recordings. While some might consider these to be imperfections in a recording process, they breathe a sense of life and warmth into the songs, and bring a very confessional and personal nature to the music. This sense of closeness and intimacy is further reflected in the songwriting – they are very emotional, personal, yet straight-forward and relatable, centered around the balance between reflecting on one’s past or how they’ve come to be and finding and setting into one’s place in the world, and the sense of comfort that this and a newfound routine can bring.
This record creates an atmospheric fuzzy, warm, at times dreamy or spaced-out feeling. Some of the songs are quite sparse, consisting only of Beckett singing over minimal guitar or keyboard backing, while others are more ambitiously arranged and fleshed out musically with a fuller backing band. Other songs feature quite a bit of branching out, with interesting textures, sounds,, and styles incorporated into what is usually fairly straight-forward lo-fi indie. A few songs on the album, in particular ‘Be Home Soon’ and ‘Hometown Hero,’ feature some slide guitar, a great addition that adds to the swirling, dream-like nature of the songs. There’s also an underlying tension or discord that comes out in some of the songs, adding a darker side to some of the usually more warm, pleasant sunniness, notably so on ‘Sunday Afternoon’.
Overall, this is an expansion on the lo-fi, warm, very intimate and close songwriting we’ve come to know with a new sense of self-assuredness and voice – very much like finding one’s niche, or coming to the realization that even though you might not have everything figured out (not that anyone ever does), you’re doing pretty alright and things will work out in the end.
Sounds Like: Adult Mom, Emily Yacina, Frankie Cosmos,
Reviewer’s Name: Gabrielle Spickard
Date of Review: 10/17/2018