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Chelsea Bridge – K CD

Whited Sepulchre

Notice: This is a Pre-Order and will ship before it's release date of August 23, 2024.

In many ways, both obvious and not, K is Mallory Linehan’s – who performs under the name Chelsea Bridge – most experimental album. The conservatory trained classical violinist creates deeply felt compositions and foggy soundscapes punctuated by spiky blasts of harsh noise. Chelsea Bridge shows can range from subdued, ceiling-staring lie-ins to erotically charged, situationist-heavy noise attacks on that same ceiling-staring detachment. The two extremes often do not lie dormant inside the same body for long. If you are familiar with Chelsea Bridge as the Chicago D.I.Y stalwart, Not Not venue operator, Desert Liminal member, Girlfriend Experience provocateur – to read a press release with an RIYL that starts with an Alvvays comparison may seem…

K opens familiarly enough: shimmering keys, Pet Sounds looped choir of disembodied vocals that build into a crescendo of reverb drenched guitars. As the shimmer fades, we are dropped into the lap of a staccato plucked violin, the boom-bap of a drum machine and the iconic line / manifesto-for-right-living of “getting high in the morning”. The scenery shifts around us. We are in a new neighborhood.

This move from noise into distinct pop songwriting with pop song structures didn’t come from any dramatic shift. According to Linehan’s observations, the most punishing power electronics artist also loves the most perfect pop records. Masonna and Madonna existing in the same sonic universe. The Rita and Rita Ora. Sky Ferreira and James Ferrero. As more pop stars are starting to experiment and flirt with noise, see Rosali and Billie Eilish, noise artists flirting with pop music completes this loop. For Linehan, it was opening herself to artists like Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next, Lana Del Ray and Jessica Lee Mayfield’s Make My Head Sing where she found not only a deeply resonant sentimentality, but also a thrilling juxtaposition of sweetness and jagged production that became a springboard for inspiration on K.

Linehan’s improvisation-heavy background prepared her for the vulnerable work of “spilling her guts” on a song that has a verse, chorus and an undeniable hook. Part of improvisation is trusting in and believing that you made the right choice at the right time. Stripping down sentiments of disappointment, infatuation and giddy wonder outside of sheets of noise or wandering ambience, puts these emotions in stark relief. If “Everything is Embarrassing” then why not risk an emotional talk into the camera POV?

As a record, K floats on its own volition. The quieter moments are held together in a gossamer thread of hypnagogic building and blending of voices, delayed guitars and harmonies with the emotional gut-punch of Mallory Linehan’s violin delivering sweeping, top-line melodies. An unironic sentimentality unfolds sweetly, tucking moments of real dread in songs like “Will Anything Ever Get Any Better” and “Loveable Loser” beneath its downy wings. Sun soaked California is transmuted through the opaque yellow glow of a car’s interior light in the freezing Chicago night in “Car Song”. “FOMO” is a sweeping, sweet strummer that wouldn’t sound out of place on 90’s alt-rock radio that gets lifted to unexpected heights with Linehan’s violin. There are moments on “Accountable” where distorted guitars signal at swallowing the track until pulling back, leaving the loudness war unfought.

Noise and especially anything that can be broadly characterized as “experimental” is often approached as a collage. Taking what is and twisting it into what could be. In a lot of ways K feels inevitable for an artist like Chelsea Bridge. Not only does she demonstrate the technical chops to craft undeniably catchy and affecting songs, but as an artist who believes that the art you are making is the art you are supposed to make, K is simply another set of sounds, tools and work in her head and at her fingertips, just waiting to be let out.

releases August 23, 2024

Produced by Matt Ibarra, Andrew Johnson and Mallory Linehan
Mixed and Mastered by Matt Ibarra at STR Mastering
Sam Wagster, Pedal Steel on “Your World”
Curt Oren, Saxophone on “Will Anything Ever Get Any Better?
2024 Whited Sepulchre Records. All rights reserved.

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Release Date 2024-08-23
Catalog # WSR051
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Stock Level In stock
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