While its bones are more or less made of the same instrumentation you would expect out of just about any pop single released just in time for the summer season, there’s nothing typical about the performance Kechi gives behind the microphone in her new single “All the Time,” the first off her debut album. As potent in harmonies as it is wonderfully simple and catchy, “All the Time” has a gorgeous guitar part that grabs us by the collar seconds after pressing the play button, welcoming us into the insular grooves of the track and preparing us for the magic soon to follow.
Kechi herself has a humble attitude as she pushes through the verses, and while she has an exposed sensibility to her narrative in this track that implies a desire to go barebones with her lyricism, there’s no getting around the fact that she’s very imagistic with her words just the same. She’s making a strong case for realism in a generation of pop singers far too absorbed in the influence of postmodernity, and to me, her effort in this single is enough to warrant a closer examination of her immense talents in general.
First off, I love the groove that serves as the underpinning in “All the Time,” and especially how natural it sounds in the big picture. There’s nothing bloated about the bass part, nor any tininess in the percussive component of the beat, for us to get distracted by as Kechi navigates the lyrics with a fluidity I don’t normally come across in vocalists as fresh in the game as she is. Her vocal is never forced but instead applied to the foundation of the guitar element early on in the song, making it distinctive yet melded with the instrumentation just enough for the harmony to sound heavenly and bigger than anything else I’ve heard this year in indie pop music.
There’s a nimbleness to the verse-led rhythm here that is never impeded by a lumbering bassline looking to shape something specifically clubby in “All the Time;” truth be told, I don’t think that’s the model Kechi was trying to go off of in this release at all. The vibe here is more homespun than it is cosmopolitan, which benefits the pastoral aesthetics simmering beneath the surface of this singer’s sound marvelously.
There’s a lot more to Kechi than even her most ardent followers have noted in her career thus far, and this opulently melodic performance indicates this emphatically. She’s joined the ranks of Ava Maybee and Brielle Brown as one of the most thoughtful pop singer/songwriters to make headlines in the underground press this May, but if she’s able to develop something directly centered on the more understated, almost bucolic aspects of her style in the near future, I think she’ll have a genuine shot at eclipsing the competition a lot sooner than later. I’m impressed with this initial work, and if you’re hungry for some quality pop music right now, I think you will be as well.
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