Abby K’s album Heart Shaped Rock presents listeners with a collection of songs from true and experienced song writer. The opening and title track sets the scene superbly, everything from the structure to the rhyme scheme to the melodies, the instrumentation, the harmonies; the song has been crafted with skill, though perhaps more importantly, it’s been crafted with a clear sense of love – for music, creativity, life – and this is something that shines consistently throughout the project.
Songwriting for me is about discovering simple everyday stories. – Abby K.
As things develop there’s a hugely enjoyable touch of country rock and roll to the collection – always maintaining the emotion and depth of folk that the initial track highlighted, but evolving now into something varied and impossible to predict. With You In Mind brings a warm and addictive energy to the stage; the music is quicker, yet calming. The strength of the sound and the explicit positivity embedded within it are enough to sweep any listener off their feet. There is of course a notable level of emotion, perhaps even sadness, to the lyrics of the song, but the music does as much great music has in the past and helps you to face those issues and those difficulties with an uplifting wave of optimism.
Silhouette Blues is a moment of musical bliss. The country twang remains, but the energy is calm and reflective. The melody too in this case really leaves its mark early on. The hook is brilliantly satisfying in its fusion of the hopeful and the melancholy. Again, the harmonies add a simple yet effective layer of warmth, and the meeting of the male and female vocals works well.
The variation on this project is incredible. The further you get throughout the collection, the more this appreciation grows. My Perfect Situation takes you somewhere outside of yourself entirely. For me, it was the small yet busy streets of some distant, European town. The hustle and bustle of the weekend, somewhere far from home. Then you get Just Passing Through, which switches the vibe unexpectedly once again, and further explores the artist’s (and indeed the listener’s, in their response) emotional directions and creative drive. This particular song is loaded with feeling, in the instrumentation and in the vocal performance – the words appear like poetry taken from the diary of a stranger. Something new, a new perspective, but undeniably human and easy to access and understand. The lyrics are superb at this moment, the imagery and the brightness of the storytelling is captivating.
The most striking thing about this album is really just how interesting each and every song is. The subject matter seems, as mentioned, very human, but it’s always expressed in some new and unusual way. The way the songwriter fuses metaphor and reality in a single line is massively effective and impressive to witness. The speed at which the lyrics are delivered as I Don’t Know progresses is overwhelming at first, the song is brilliant, but it begs for you to listen more than once just to make sure you don’t miss anything. Again, the way the artist has utilised structure adds even more drama and intensity – the artistry comes at you from every angle, and without sacrificing the general comfort of great music.
Throughout the project the instrumentation is varied and always chosen in a way that appropriately reflects the feelings behind the songs. My Alki begins with an acoustic guitar, the melody has a simple, hypnotic rhythm, the lyrics are peaceful yet revealing, and all the while the music gently increases in intensity – the beat comes forward, the symbols crash, the sounds multiply, and only ever to the point that the song dictates; in its honest and open story telling.
Behind The Smile furthers the album’s instrumental reach even more so. The track is notably unique, the tribal beat, the peaceful, folk-like melody, and the desire within the lyrics to look deeper than the surface allows; it all makes for something captivating, and once again the inclination to listen more than once is prominent.
The latter half of the project doesn’t seize to impress – there’s no filler, nothing there to make up the numbers; with every song that plays out, the creativity, the passion, and the professionalism are undeniable. You’re My Moon is an addictively melodic and joyful song, simplistic in nature but powerful in expression. Pauline breaks things down again as the gorgeous picking of an acoustic guitar unfolds and the questioning side of songwriting provokes you to ponder. Moments like this allow listeners to get an insight into who the songwriter is, the events that took place leading up to the creation of these songs, and the things that matter on the whole – all of which makes the project accessible and enjoyable from start to finish.
Follow You Anywhere again highlights the skillful way in which the artist has fused the truth and emotion of folk with the imagery and energy of country. This track in itself is unforgettable, the melody captures your attention in an instant, then the verses develop, the story unfolds, and the hook hits hard. The only thing left to be desired is a live performance – the full band set up, complete with high energy and dancing and the genuine joy of being human.
You Never Know brings things to a close, the peaceful finality of the piano sound is a powerful choice, and the artist reflects upon times passed and what may be from here on in. There’s hope and sadness, there’s quiet and chaos, much like in life itself. Heart Shaped Rock is a stunning collection of compelling and thought provoking songs, all backed up with a sublime array of musical prowess and a string of relevant and moving performances. Head over to Bandcamp to download the collection in full.