“King’s Daughters Home For Incurables” is the first solo release from Californian singer-songwriter Karla Kane, an artist with a good back catalogue of cool music created with her band The Corner Laughers. Following the tranquillity the ukulele offers coupled with her recent tours to the UK, a pastoral cloud of inspiration spawned a more intimate home recording environment mused by a backyard oak tree.
What I instantly loved about this album is the infusion of Richard Youell‘s nature recordings that add some reverential gentile grace to the concept. Karla’s blend of folk indie pop is proud to have guests such as the birds and the bees, musicians after all who have been filling mankind with joy for millennia. There are human guests too adding a few tasty sprinkles of fairy dust to this already well constructed sound platter, some adding readily to the quintessential motif through the God given gift of a Yorkshire accent.
The song titles are awash with fanciful flirtations with nature. Wishing Tree, Skylarks Of Britain (yes indeed, featuring real skylarks), Under The Oak In May and Grasshopper Clock are all notable examples. These very English sounding headings spill into the feel, tempo and grace of the songs too, indeed it’s hard to imagine a more British album, curious then is should come from California!
The songs themselves vary perfectly to peak in activity and tone while retaining a uniform and satisfying approach. A splutter of Paganism along with some fascinating chord arrangements and mutations are cleverly woven into a well stocked tapestry of songwriting finesse. Don’t Hush Darling is a particular favourite, the bees announcing a deep drone that supports one of the most exquisite, delicate and melancholic songs it has ever been my fortune to enjoy.
Karla’s candy-coated vocals are up front and centre giving an intimate connection to the listener and whilst this is a full and rich sounding album, that confidential feel between artist and listener is terribly strong, one feels the songs are reaching out to the individual. It’s beautiful, musically engaging, thought-provoking and personal, indeed I think “don’t choose princess when you should be the queen ” is going to be my mantra for 2020.