Having already released her EP in America earlier this year, Seattle-based Lena Simon, also known as Kairos, now has her sights on the UK, with the release of her debut EP coming on the 11th of August.
Having made the move from Los Angeles to Seattle in 2008, Simon pursued a degree in classical clarinet before re-auditioning for the compositional department, as well as playing in various bands. Simon’s talents include bass, drums, guitar, clarinet and, of course, her own vocals, all of which are supposedly heightened by her formal academic training.
The self titled EP holds six tracks, a greater feat than many debut albums achieve, and it is no surprise, considering that Simon has been writing and collecting solo material for the past four years. KAIROS is a collection of tracks that range between indie, pop, synth-pop and, (self described) vintage beach-rock, all tied together by Simon’s delicate and soothing yet strong vocals. Despite being recorded in 2012, KAIROS bares similarities recent releases from Haim and Chvrches, as well as older work from MGMT.
The EP begins with ‘Casanova’, which introduces nicely Kairos with one of the slower tracks on the EP, showcasing the instrumental strengths of the album, provided by John Albert (keyboard and guitar), Katie Finn (keyboard), Raymond McCoy (bass and keyboard), Benny Phanickul (drums), as well as Lena Simon herself.
The following track, ‘Sister’, introduces a more fast-paced side to Kairos, beginning with a sharp and loud drum beat and dreamy synth sounds. This is one of the more unique tracks on the EP, and a good example of Kairos’s ability to create original sounding music as well as holding faith in her own musical identity.
‘Dirt and Grit’ continues with the faster-paced side of the EP, offering a fast-and-heavy bass line and drum beat, possibly the strongest track of the EP, particularly with the addition of catchy guitar riffs throughout the latter-half of the song. This combined with Simon’s delicate vocals, which are particularly strong on this track, makes ‘Dirt and Grit’ the best example so far of Kairos’s work.
Despite the albums forthcomings, KAIROS also holds some less impressive tracks, with ‘Cold Habits’ and ‘November’ frankly both sounding rather anticlimactic in comparisons to higher points on the album. Simon’s vocal work is still strong throughout these tracks, although slightly drowned out by louder instrumental sounds, particularly on ‘Cold Habits’, where drums and guitars begin to overwhelm Simon’s voice, which is a particular shame when realised that this track houses some of the best lyrics on the album.
Kairos is the ancient Greek word for “the defining moment” and whilst KAIROS is a good starting point for Simon, we feel that possibly a follow up album could truly be her defining moment. With her own strong musical identity and her willingness to take musical risks, we’re confident that the next offering from Kairos will be a stronger effort.
Listen to Kairos below:
KAIROS is available in the UK from the 11th of August, and already available in the US.