Boomkat Product Review:
Ace debut full-length from Montréal's Vicky Mettler aka Kee Avil, a producer and guitarist who's able to map out jagged avant-post-punk forms that touch on everything from HTRK and Scott Walker to Eartheater and PJ Harvey. Big recommendation.
'Crease' is such an accomplished record that it's hard to believe it's a debut. Mettler isn't a newcomer by any means; she's been described as "a burgeoning force in Montréal’s experimental music community", and worked with Sam Shalabi's Land of Kush, as well as co-founding the Concrete Sound Studio. But she's managed to find time to follow up her 2018 self-titled debut EP with a widescreen set of torched, gothic wyrd rock music that falls in and out of genre with skill and grace.
Mettler's powerful voice is the thread that guides us through each song, and her guitar - never played simply, always creased into abstraction - is omnipresent. But it's the production that sets 'Crease' apart from anything else we've heard in a minute - Mettler somehow balances extreme subtlety with production grandstanding, avoding trickery for the sake of it, and instead jolting each song with elements that reinforce her craft smartly and soundly. That might be Matmos-esque percussive glitches, abstract soundscapes, blunted rhythms, or swirling vocal effects - it's never overwhelming, to the point where you only really notice if you fully hone in.
'saf' matches Mettler's smokey reflections with crumbling white noise bursts and subtle oscillations that create insectoid whirrs under her grungey guitar riffs. On 'Melting Snow', she echoes Kate Bush's surreal intensity with quirky circular verses that spin across squelching synth marshes and collapsed, overdriven foley beats. 'Okra Ooze' is almost a pop song, with swooping, melancholy vocals to prove it, but Mettler distorts her voice into an alien gurgle, splitting her electric guitar part into jagged, dissonant squeals over rumbling abstract electronics.
'Crease' is an ambitious record that retains its early momentum and rarely misses a beat - If you're into HTRK's 'Psychic 9-5 Club', Smerz, Eartheater's "Phoenix" or even Scott Walker's mindboggling "Tilt", you need to take a closer look.