Genre: Indie Rock, Dream Pop
Favorite Tracks: “At the Party,” “Real Lovin,” “Scorpio Moon”
Sometimes it’s worth remembering that even the most gentle voices in the room can be the most powerful. That statement makes me think a lot about my mother. Her and I have fought constantly throughout my life, and the lessons I have taken most from those fights aren’t the ones where she’s yelling the loudest, or even speaking the calmest. It is the ones where she’s so frantically scared for me that she has to slow down every. single. word., somehow still finishing it off with such a loving touch that at the end of those fights the words are engraved and branded onto my soul. They weren’t lessons that she had read on the internet, or something she heard from a friend of a friend about raising a son. They came from a human being who has lived a life—a life with joyous occasions and tragic heartbreak. Black Belt Eagle Scout’s new record, AT THE PARTY WITH MY BROWN FRIENDS, gives me those exact same feelings.
The album itself flows like a heart beating, and flows with amazing pacing. It blooms like flowers in the spring, sprouting with life and colors. Singer-songwriter Katherine Paul’s voice gently paints over the instrumentals without ever having to exert too much pressure over it. The entire exercise feels natural and free-flowing. It’s a smooth 35 minutes as it weaves in and out of songs that often carry a very similar throughline.
While her previous projects may have been more tethered by her reality, her latest record seems to let go of some of that, allowing itself to be wrapped in lighthearted moments. AT THE PARTY WITH MY BROWN FRIENDS is a romantic album, both about the romanticization of ideas as well as the romances among people. On “Real Lovin,” she sings, very simply, “There’s real love” over and over again, and in that moment she has the power to sweep you out of whatever you may be feeling and into a hyper-romanticized version of the world we live in sans the hate and pain that surrounds us. The record is filled with moments that can make you feel like that; Paul’s voice lends such tenderness and love that you can’t help but be infected by genuineness and care—you simultaneously fall in love with her and are heartbroken by her. From picking flowers on “Run It To Ya,” to experiencing joy filled tears on “I Said I Wouldn’t Write This Song,” she’s the protagonist of her own love story and everything is through her lenses.
Over the course of AT THE PARTY WITH MY BROWN FRIENDS, Paul delivers on and at times exceeds all expectations. The music is excellent and worthy of acclaim on its own accord, but with all the added forces at play on her record it becomes something even bigger than that, a romantic story that a lot of people haven’t heard before. Similar stories like Paul’s may exist, but they aren’t told by someone with her lens and her soul and her voice. Here’s to hoping Paul’s work continues to inspire hope in America, or wherever people’s voices are often unheard and forgotten.