The title of Katy Vernon’s new album is in tune with her personality. Katy donates her vulnerabilities into her music. In both life and art this English girl in Minnesota wears her hearts on her sleeves, shoulders and lapels as her generous emotional bequest to the craft of songwriting is absorbed absolutely into her creativity.
Brought to life through the wonders of Kickstarter, Katy’s new album begins by sonically beckoning us to indulge in some stadium hand claps while the harmonised vocal line reaches out to the audience in both tempo and message. It is an incredibly strong start to the album, an invitation to invest your attention. Listen introduces a gorgeous string arrangement atop some booming toms, another terribly tenacious vocal line and a pinch of melancholic muted trumpet. A more buoyant In Your Shoes follows as it chugs along to a country beat as Home dallys into the Blues and Latest Disaster then flings us into the nearest 70’s discotheque.
This is a diverse album then. Katy’s skilful vocals are splendid throughout, honest and true, gluing these varied genres together to produce a traditional album package; a complete body of work. Her skill as a songwriter is dazzling with scarcely a heart covered foot is put wrong. Chord structure, melody, rhythm, structure and feel are pretty impeccable and I genuinely cannot remember the last time an album filled me with such admiration for the writing prowess behind it. The orchestration too is triumphant, building on the ukulele kernel with well written lines and dozens of little nibbles of studio perfection. The well placed snare roll in Catch Myself, the dexterous Hammond solo of Pink Cloud or the key twisting seventh chords of Somebody’s Daughter’s Daughter; a wonderfully meandering song that never derails and puts me in mind of the fabulous Rilo Kiley. One feels this album was made with utter devotion to every beat and syllable.
I expected this CD to be rather good but “Suit Of Hearts” has genuinely moved me and my appreciation, indeed admiration of Katy Vernon has rocketed through the proverbial roof. It is perhaps the most comprehensively impressive album it has been my fortune to review for this splendid magazine and I sincerely hope the rest of the world sits up sharply, takes a deep breath and embraces this colossal talent into their hearts.
This review originally appeared in issue 18 of UKE Magazine.