In support of her new Americana-glazed folk rock record, Sound of The Morning, Katy J Pearson is performing at Gorilla on 22 September.
Katy J Pearson’s debut record Return (2020) saw her snowball from Bristolian newcomer to critically-acclaimed breakthrough star, loved for her magnetic blend of soaring, widescreen melodies and warm, intimate storytelling. Listen to tracks like ‘Take Back The Radio’ and ‘Tonight’ and the first thing that’ll hit you is her voice. Somewhere between Dolly Parton and Kate Bush, it’s infectiously joyous, and so is the music behind it. Packed with hooks, the songs on Return flit between old fashioned country heartbreak and life-affirming indie pop – an aural balm when we needed it during lockdown.
Her latest record, Sound of the Morning sees Katy J Pearson pushing herself musically and lyrically into new waters. Joining Return producer Ali Chant on desk duties this time was Speedy Wunderground head honcho Dan Carey, who worked with Pearson on some of the album’s grittier tracks. “Dan got a completely different structural, songwriting style out of me which is what I wanted: something a bit more confident and in your face,” Pearson says. “He could see that there was a part of me that wanted to branch out, I just didn’t know where and how far to push it, but it was exactly the kind of progression I was looking for.”
The album ranges from Americana-tinged indie pop (‘Talk Over Town’) to traditional folk (‘The Hour’) via some more intriguing experiments. One track that really stands out is the uncharacteristically dark Carey-produced ‘Confession’, a #MeToo inspired, anxious rattle of a song that draws on an electronic sound palate and Krautrock rhythms. ‘Alligator’ is another change of pace, with stomping, Squid-sounding drums and a slithering bass riff leading the way towards a delightfully epic chorus, while the lyrics examine the dissociation that comes with anxiety.
It all makes for a record that’s unafraid to explore life’s darker parts, but it does so with an openness that’s full of light. And if there’s catharsis to be found in Pearson’s recorded music, her shows take things to a new level. Having been lucky enough to catch her joy-radiating set at Glastonbury, I fully recommend you get yourself down to Gorilla on 22 September.