BWW Album Review: KATHRYN GALLAGHER - DEMOS, VOL. I
Directly from her Covid-induced isolation, Kathryn Gallagher has released a collection of five cuts titled Demos, Vol. I. After listening to it, we already want a Vol. II. The Broadway performer is no stranger to putting out insightful, deep numbers that present spotless writing, but her latest releases might take the crown.
The tracks open a window into the internal world of the artist, a raw and painful look into mental health, a toxic relationship, infidelity, and heartbreak with her final song summing up the whole spirit of the EP (as well as perhaps candidly hinting at the process that lead to the project): "My Therapist Calls It Healing".
Armed with a simple and soft electric guitar and a sharpened pen, she dissects and guts her emotions with precision and overwhelming honesty, commanding a style very much à la Taylor Swift but with a more indie touch.
With a production that's stripped down to the naked bones, we feel like intruding into a personal, confidential session. As if we were to witness the private reflections of a bleeding heart, she leaves the listener in front of the crude reality of love coming to an end.
She opens with the disheartened yet exquisitely delicate "Even My Dog". As she asks herself how she's going to get better, she admits to the profound guilt of not being happy whilst on the outside her life suggests she should be.
What segues is a gentle and gradual exploration of sorrow, starting with "How Do You Talk About Us Now". She cuts to the chase and questions her ex-lover on how they pictures her when they recount their relationship, whether they paint her as the villain or they simply say that she "Was too sad, always mad".
"Friends to Entertain" lays bare a mind wounded by unfaithfulness and harmful behaviours. She spins her partner's deceptions and excuses before uncompromisingly shaming them for hurting her while she was deluding herself it would all be fine.
She's also intoxicated by the lies her lover feeds her in "It Was Good", mourning a passion that ended with her "losing everything [she's] made of". Finally, the last song stands almost as a memento to red flags and hails what it takes to overcome and rationalise a harrowing experience.
These all-consuming feelings run like subdued electricity across the album, pushing one to crave the irrevocable aftermath of love in spite of the pain she's vividly recounted. In all this, her family peeks in from the periphery of her vision: her mother worries about her throughout, while her father concludes the journey with a loving voicemail.
Gallagher succeeds in delivering the universal experience of heartbreak and recovery by letting her audience into the specific situations that crowd an extremely intimate sphere of her life.