Recommended Tracks: “Indigo”, “I’m Free”, “Reset”
Artists You May Like: HAIM, MUNA, Sylvan Esso
In 2015, the world was introduced to The Katherines, which consisted of members Kate Kurdyak, Lauren Kurdyak, and Kaitlyn Hansen Boucher. The trio quickly gained a strong following, receiving praise from VICE and the Vancouver Sun and playing at special Canadian venues and festivals. When they released their debut album in 2017, it reached over a million Spotify streams, landed on the Canada Viral 50 charts, and was included on several featured playlists. After taking a brief hiatus, The Katherines came back in 2020 with a new name and a new member, Mitchell Schaumberg. As Vox Rea, the indie pop group have released several singles, such as fan favorites “Dose Me Up” and “Reset,” made it onto the cover of the Folk & Friends playlist, and are set to play major North American festivals later this year. They have done so much to get to this point, and we can hear all about their coming-of-age experiences on their self-titled debut album.
On the album, Vox Rea give us moments of reflection as they try to rectify certain needs and desires. Life can be confusing at times, as we hear on opening track “Indigo,” and it can be difficult to figure out what it is you are living for, what it is you want. This concept comes across strongly in the chorus, when we hear, “I wanna be free from this / Or do I?” Additionally, when life just gets to be too much, an urge to escape might arise. As described on “Sinatra,” it can seem like “life is better in the stars,” which prompts the group to quote the legendary singer with the line, “Fly me to the moon.” Instead of escaping, however, there is also the option of opening up and asking for help. On the melancholy “Damn (Unstuck),” we hear about the possibilities of letting someone in, as you can only do so much on your own.
When it comes to reflecting, it is only natural to look back on past relationships. Whether they ended amicably or were consumed by flames, relationships and former connections have a way of sneaking in and demanding attention. On the fragile “Glass,” we are brought to a place of starting over. Throughout the track, we are presented with lines like, “I let you slip away so freely” and “My restless soul is made of glass,” prompting an effort to “pick up the pieces and start again.” The opposite situation is explored on “When You Go,” which focuses on moving on. Over gentle strings and piano, we hear, “You’re taking me when you go” and “I’ll wait for you, I always do / Please don’t fall for someone new,” giving the impression that this couple will stay together. Yet, by the end of the track, we are told, “I’m never coming back to you,” which signifies an ending.
Even though there are these deeper stories on Vox Rea, there are plenty of songs that embrace life and all it has to offer. There are tracks like “We Are The Wild Ones” and “I’m Free,” which are the epitome of going out and having a good time. Out of the two, “I’m Free” is more interpretive, as “Night life / Freedom / Keep it moving / Rhythm / Going faster,” can be applied to whichever late-night outing you so choose. Along with these fun snapshots come dreamy vignettes of love, as we get on “Dufferin Ave.” and “Reset.” The former is old-timey and dreamy, setting the right kind of mood for falling in love. On the latter, we are treated to twinkling soft pop as we hear, “You’re the cure I’ve been searching for / Ain’t nobody that I need more” and “What can I do? / I’m crazy for you.”
All in all, Vox Rea give us a beautiful, complex coming-of-age album that shines a light on what it means to find your way in this world. Much can be taken from the experiences we hear throughout the album, as lessons are learned through times of joy as well as heartache. The group shared that the album “was born out of a fascination with the contradiction inherent in the human experience,” and they built on this in the best way. Overall, this debut album flexes their power as a group and cements their existence as Vox Rea.
You can listen to Vox Rea on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.