Album Review: Kuri – No Village

kuriKuri – No Village

Indie Folk | Baroque Pop

85%

It’s one thing to describe a feeling in words, it’s another entirely to capture the very essence of that feeling within the music itself. Written around the sense of being alone in a place that’s familiar, No Village is quite possibly the most heartfelt outpouring of emotion into music that you will experience this year. Canadian multi-instrumentalist Kuri brilliantly captures the quest for belonging with his interplay between grandeur and minimalism. He deftly dips the record into sweeping cinematic soundscapes but always finds his way back into the stripped back introspective moments. The end result feels like walking through an empty city devoid of life; in awe of the scale of it all but with the gnawing sense of being a small speck in a big and hollow world.

‘Something at the Door’ opens with a delicate acoustic line reminiscent of Keaton Henson. Once the emotive drums and stirring orchestral score kick in, and Kuri delivers his most impassioned vocals of the record, it adds a hopeful undertone which contrasts beautifully with such sombre lines as “I want to fall asleep and never rise”. The opening melodies of ‘Anathema’ weave their way across the track like birdsong on a spring morning, ‘Everyone’s Tired’ recalls Radiohead’s softer side, while the elegant folk of ‘Walk on the Moor’ is perhaps the finest example of this album’s bittersweet charm.

In spite of its gorgeous harmonies, ‘Sort Sol’ feels a bit too upbeat and off kilter in places to truly feel at home on the record. And while I enjoy ‘At One Fell Swoop’, it doesn’t feel well suited to end the album. That job would be much better served by ‘Dangerous Rhyme’s uplifting closing moments. Frankly though, even the album’s weaker songs feel meaningful. Any track here would be well at home on the soundtrack of Life Is Strange, as a poignant interlude to get lost in as you ponder on all the choices you made.

While you definitely need to be in the right frame of mind to get the full measure of Kuri’s debut, you’d need a heart of stone not to be moved by it in some capacity. It’s a deeply haunting record that wastes no time in making a strong first impression. Should you find yourself feeling lost and empty, No Village is the album you’ll find yourself reaching for to fill the void.

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