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“Of Vinyl” from Los Angeles’ Kendra & the Bunnies

Poetic and powerful, the songs on Of Vinyl from Los Angeles’ Kendra & the Bunnies, the moniker of Kendra Muecke, are full of dreamy tropes and Bohemian-like images. Heavily prose-like, but rich in texture, the 14 songs are delightfully unique. Her magnetic voice and charming prolific storytelling mixed with sharp music beds take the listener on vintage, dreamy and even motivating experiences.

Chunky guitars, sounding like the quaint corner of a coffeehouse performance are prevalent for most  of the collection’s first half. “Gust & Dissolve” starts the mood, with a slow, emotional tempo. It appears to be just Muecke and her guitar, sounding like a mix of the Laurel Canyon folk rock and Berkley, California sound of the mid 60s. Please won’t you read the letter, she pains in her lyrics. Her voice is riddled with emotion and yearning. She picks up the tempo just some in the next track, “Figure 8”, with her accompanying guitar sporadic and almost dissonant sounding. She ain’t just someone, I call her my sweet one…golden girl, she sings.

BANDCAMP: https://kenbunny.bandcamp.com/album/of-vinyl

Already two songs in and Muecke establishes herself as a diverse story teller. By the time “Speak Kesey” unfolds, she’s branching out even more. “Speak Kesey” has an opening sequence that sounds like an announcer at some sort of race; a track and field race perhaps? Her voice against the piano is lovely. She exhibits a softer sound, more grace alongside the keys. Something in the way he looks at me, she croons. Your air’s gonna knock me over, she sings adoringly. In the hand-clapping tune “World Peace A Thing”, she also includes a more natural percussion. She sings with more soul in her timbre. And that snake that’s biting on my toes, is the same one that threw all my votes…we all know exactly where our money goes…we don’t know what we’re doing to our children coming through, children coming through, she sings passionately. She does use profanity a few lines later (which felt a jarring). Her point is clearly made. This song felt like a wakeup call and challenge for all of us as global citizens.

My favorite track on Of Vinyl is the stellar “Sucré Mon Cherí”. I believe this translates to sugar, my honey, or sugar, my love. Muecke starts out the song with go ahead and play me like the blues, go ahead and play me like you always do. The sweet, honey-dipped electric guitar is wrapped around Muecke’s voice. She hovers above the music bed with confidence and a place of joy.

APPLE MUSIC: https://music.apple.com/us/album/of-vinyl/1470811310?ign-gact=3&ls=1

That’s the thing about Muecke – even when the music bed is moody, there is still hope bubbling within her voice. Like she sings in the track, “A Series of Self”, I’m just a girl and my intentions were good. So much of her inner strength is showcased in these songs, as well as her exceptional talent to capture an essence of her subject. Her words, more than her voice and music, speak the loudest. Her strong sense of community and love is unstoppable. Of Vinyl is a real gift from a particularly talented lyricist and artist.

Mindy McCall

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