– featured image courtesy of the artist –
the discography and creative trajectory of the toronto-based trio little kid is all but woven into the fabric of this site’s existence. the band’s landmark 2013 sophomore full-length river of blood coincided with our first full year of operations, and frontman kenny boothby took the time to discuss both that record and its 2016 follow-up, flowers, in great detail. with last year’s sun milk and now its successor, might as well with my soul, self-released in the twilight of august, little kid have cemented their legacy as a pillar of this past decade’s vibrant online independent music community, their impressive catalogue providing the soundtrack to hours of existential contemplation.
for the majority of the band’s existence, boothby has been joined by the multi-instrumentalists paul vroom and brodie germain, who primarily staff the rhythm section while also contributing more textural parts, and, in vroom’s case, handle engineering, production, and post-production. this well-established collaborative ecosystem allows little kid to thrive effortlessly across might as well with my soul; the loose one-two punch of “two invitations” and “love minus seven / no livin'” is at turns both raucous and meandering, steady pulses segueing to the next while supplemental timbres fade in and out of the texture.
boothby’s lyrical and vocal stylings have long been the principal hallmarks of little kid’s aesthetic, and might as well with my soul fares no different. his wavering tenor is as comfortable against the syncopated drive of “in the red” as it is laid bare on “the only light,” with intricate narratives resonating amidst rather sparse word counts, sentiments punctuated by slight turns of phrase or unexpected confessions. dialogue is also a strong constant; the aforementioned “two invitations” turns on repetitions of old adages, while “the fifth” is anchored by two successive questions, its soundscape swaying gently in the breeze.
if weighted lyrics are one central tenet of little kid’s core, then the other is, arguably, sprawling compositions not always interested in reaching their final destination, instead content to move laterally and explore nuances in the space presently occupied. the standout cut “receiver” makes good use of every second in its six-minute run-time, boothby’s lead vocal as pensive as the piano that threads through it, while the penultimate number “your orange and blues” marinates in its ruminative melancholy, quickly becoming one of the year’s best country tunes. as the final chord of “easy or free” (itself a powerful meditation delivered via mournful slide guitar) dissipates, one feels the weight momentarily lift off of one’s shoulders, and then presses play again.
might as well with my soul is out now. stream the album in its entirety below.