For the past twelve days, Indientry has been silent; I was with eleven other teenagers on a backpacking and environmental service trip through Outward Bound, hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail and helping out around Philadelphia. It was definitely exhausting, but I had fun with my crew and it was nice to take a break from the mayhem of a constantly-increasing inbox full of submissions.
But after twelve days of backpacking with no internet, it’s refreshing to come back to an indie pop album like KNOTTS‘ IS IT ART YET?. Despite varying song strength and intensity, everything about its eleven songs is soft around the edges. It is certainly not passive, though; Adalia Powell-Boehne is a storyteller at heart, a fact that is evident in her powerful songwriting.
KNOTTS’ simple indie pop music allows the story to speak for itself; although she uses horns, violin, and vibraphone over the usual lineup of electric guitar, drums, and vocals, Powell-Boehne is a genuine storyteller. The music is not overwhelming despite using so many instruments, and her narratives are authentic rather than masked by heavy sounds. Nearly every song feels applicable to everyday life, and quotable lyrics jump out at what seems like each new verse.
The album itself is a little bouncy; tracks like “Horrible Rambler” feature bright vocals and upbeat, tangy guitar as Powell-Boehne warbles about being a “horrible rambler/terrible talker/clumsy walker/sensitive soul”. Her breathy vocals work towards building a sweet, summery track with “These Days”, and you can hear the smile in her voice as she sings, “These days/I can’t stop laughing these days”.
At times, however, Powell-Boehne slows things down with several syrupy ballads. “Extraterrestrial”, for example, features a violin as the primary instrument behind the guitar and boldly echoing vocals; it contributes to a melancholy feeling as she croons, “And it’s because you rescued me from the lake of the fire”.
Later, although similar in sound to those sentimental tracks, “Your Mind” feels like a solid representation of the way it feels to live with anxiety. Over clicking percussion and soft piano, Powell-Boehne’s soulful voice sings desperate lyrics like, “Do you hate me?/Liberate me” and “Say what’s on your mind/I’m so tired of pretending”. It’s a little melancholy and golden, moving slowly and sweetly as she croons about an uncertain relationship.
If you’re looking for a simple, speaks-for-itself indie pop album, IS IT ART YET? is exactly what you want. It’s a great way to soften the often-harsh summer pop playlists, and if you’re feeling the intensity of the oppressive heat, the music isn’t too heavy. Check it out below!
Originally published on Indientry on July 19, 2018.