Los Angeles singer-songwriter Katie Burden is releasing, come mid-September 2016, her album titled Strange Moon. It’s ten tracks seem to either be of the soft rock or the experimental rock genres. All of them feature guitars and percussion, with the latter genre also featuring electronic sounds. Burden’s vocals are sweet and approachable, those of the young woman-next-door everyone asks to sing at the barbecue or wedding.
Among the soft rock-type tracks is “My Kind”. As the lightest number of the bunch, it creates a great restful feeling that fills one with energy. The vocals in the slow ballad “Hunter” showcase a range that is avoided for most of the rest of the album. The way the guitar is used to open the rhythmic “Don’t Ask” makes is sound like the opening notes of a Western movie. Similarly, a country flavor can be detected in the slow and soothing “Too Good For Love”. There is something almost seductive about this ballad.
Some of the songs feel experimental in the way they bring together the above-mentioned sounds with electronic ones, as well as in the way the vocals stray off the path to add a je ne sais quoi to the track. For example, there is something a little psychedelic about “Run For Your Life” because of the slightly distorted-sounding electronic noises in the background and the high frequency with which the vocals fluctuate. The slow “Cut The Wire” sounds a little dissonant at times but not quite, which sets the mood as one of confusion. This works well with the sometimes hesitant and shy-sounding vocals.
The metallic percussion that opens the slow and intense “Strange Moon” sound somewhat as if one is hitting on a full trash can; then, an electronics sound similar to that of an electronic wind instrument joins in. There is a certain strangeness contained within the track in the choice of the electronic wind instrument noise and in Burden’s dragging vocals. Electronic sounds that remind me of water dripping into a pool opens “Coffee”. At first, it is gentle and soothing, with only vocals and the water noises, before percussion and guitars join in.
Some of the offerings span both subgroups. The mid-tempo, ballad-like “I Can See It Clear” features just a couple of electronic touches, enough to make it stand out but not enough to be labelled experimental. Delicate at many levels, “Ears” feels at times almost like a challenge for listeners’ ears to appreciate each little delicate contribution to the track, be it the guitar playing or the vocals and even the added electronic sounds.
Katie Burden’s album provides listeners with an overall calm and soothing set of songs, some of which wouldn’t be surprising to find featured on adult contemporary radio stations. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about Katie Burden is available on her official website and on her Facebook page.