Ridiculously happy, relentlessly upbeat, WOW is a sonic sugar rush, a candy-coated confection topped with syrup and sprinkles. Kate NV‘s energy never seems to flag, nor does her creativity ease. Breaking with previous recordings, her voice is diced, chopped and splattered; her prior guise as singer-songwriter is almost completely obliterated. Whenever her words are discernible, they communicate childlike glee. We can even add the fun of NV being on RVNG, a happy coincidence ~ or is it?
Look, there’s Kate, or an overly bowlegged version of Kate, navigating a mine field of objects in “oni (they),” the opening track and video. The objects naggingly cling to her, as if she has refused to use a static sheet while washing ~ a tire, a cat, a beach ball. Then her head grows, her arms lengthen, a flamingo gets stuck to her pelvis, a keyboard around her neck. Oh, the faces she makes! Synthesizer and slap bass make this a bouncy occasion; when both halt, all of the debris falls off; then the music restarts, and the items begin to stick again: taxis, TVs and trees. The simpler “Early Bird” video is equally endearing in a less frantic way; a bird flies higher and higher to feed more and more babies with more and more worms. Classic Shannon synth stabs enter, a nod to the 80s. Oddly, the bluebird’s head, like Kate’s, gets bigger as well.
Of course there’s more where these come from, starting with the “Holiday”-esque “confessions at the dinner table,” which includes horns, harp, mouth pops and toys, along with a healthy amount of “hey”s. Then there’s the chime and cluck of “nochnoi zvonok (night call)”, which sounds like an afterhours party in a toy box. “mi (we)” adopts a playfully stabbing timbre, which might inspire a curious new Tik Tok dance; “d d don’t” is even more percussive, reintroducing the 303 along with tambourine, triangle, and the tongue-in-cheek line, “I don’t care about anything.” As an aside, it’s fun to hear Synsonic drums for the first time in many moons.
We recommend WOW to children and the young at heart; people who like Coke, candy, and cake; Atari gamers; carnival attendees; folks who laugh at knock-knock jokes; and anyone who needs a quick, Pez-like boost. (Richard Allen)
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