The Brooklyn-based artist and Sad Club Records-signee melds nostalgia and tight-knit storytelling on a heart-stopping journey.
Words: Fil Pollara | Photo: Sheia Peng
Unfurling Kierst’s ‘Thud’ suggests a feeling of old memories drifting out of an open window and into the pensive, sultry night sky. The disarming debut EP from the South Carolina singer-songwriter releases on Sad Club Records. The simplicity and brevity of the songs lends the record a 90s cassette tape feel, drawing on the melancholy and haze of Elliot Smith, Mazzy Star and the up-front storytelling of Smog.
Attempts to expunge past mistakes and relationships are laid bare by Kierst in opener ’Hollowed Out’, which sets a benchmark for the inner reflection and gritty defiance that plays out across the five-tracker. This is further achieved in the breathless ’Phone Call’, where quickening acoustic guitar neatly offsets sentiments of distance and longing, palpable in lyrics like, “You don’t need anyone else, you just need to fix yourself”.
The irresistible marriage between strings (arranged and spliced up by Kierst herself) and airy vocals in the title track earns Jess Paller (June Gloom) full marks for the crisp live captures, recorded at Brooklyn venue Baby’s All Right.
‘How to Be’ is a standout track. It exemplifies Kierst’s gentle ability to bring you into the scene with her, whether you are introspectively wandering the busy streets of Brooklyn or drifting through the suburbs of South Carolina.
The effects in haunting closer, ‘Admit’, perhaps indicate the sonic territory Kierst will explore next. Here, the production takes on a greater depth to amplify the air of intrigue which runs through her songcraft. ‘Thud’ is a powerfully intimate debut which lays a marker for indie singer-songwriters on both sides of the pond.