REVIEW – New Album “Rock” by Kate Malanaphy

By McKenna Klaphake

Locally loved for their involvement in bands, “Keep for Cheap” and “Fend”, the multi-faceted musician, Kate Malanaphy, begins their solo journey with their new album, “Rock.” The highly anticipated eleven track record has been slowly unveiled as Malanaphy released five of the tracks over the past few months. “Rock” is unlike anything I’ve heard and is full of wonderfully unique pieces that come together to create its own little world. The record is highlighted by Malanaphy’s incredible vocal range and utilization of a spectrum of musical instruments and sounds. It’s also the culmination of years of Malanaphy’s own work as well as collaborations with other local artists. 

Malanaphy was gracious enough to grant Minneapolis Lens early access to their upcoming album and I was able to chat with them about the process! 

The journey of writing “Rock” began with limited material, according to Malanaphy, “I had no percussion stuff then, so I used a block of wood and a wine bottle to get the sounds I wanted for that track [I’ll Never].” The simple beginnings of this record soon evolved into the extensive album that it is today. 

Listening to this record, you will hear a wide variety of musical elements. Malanaphy not only used normal, every day instruments like the piano and guitar, but they also used items like palette knives, a mental trash can, and copper pipes to create the sound that they wanted. This DIY and crafty method of music making tells the world who Kate Malanaphy is as a solo performer, long before any lyrics are actually sung. The combination of the usual and obscure creates a sound like no other. I encourage you to listen to the album and try to pick out all of the various instruments. The more you listen the more you unwrap, like the best kind of present.

“Overall”, Malanaphy wrote, “I wanted the sounds on “Rock” to remind me of the process of making it – including the years leading up to this record, when I was messing around and finding the sound I wanted for this record”. 

Malanaphy also shows off their incredible vocal range in the album. From light high notes, to fully fledged rock belts, Malanaphy displays unbelievable talent across the board. Their unique and powerful voice is one of the main components of this artist that keeps me interested in their various musical projects. 

Many of the tracks on “Rock” include lyrics that are deeply personal and relatable. The album serves as emotional catharsis for Malanaphy and they hope listeners, “…feel the earnestness and vehemence contained in it – whether they are recognizing my emotions or their own in the music.”

Between the ballads “Back to You” and “Chalk”, and the upbeat catchy choruses found in “Tomorrow” and “Keep it Down”, Malanaphy crafted a song for every kind of mood in their breakout album. 

Their lyrics also serve as a storytelling platform. The song, “Steven and the Mouse” is just one example where you can hear Malanaphy’s illustrative and carefully crafted word choices. The playful sound paints a fun picture of a cat and its prey while also hinting at a much broader concept with the passionate repetition of the lyrics “I’ll put that on me.” Malanaphy created a world that is as chaotic as it is beautiful, it’s as soothing as it is passionate, and “Rock” will pull you right into the magic. 

This is just the start to Malanaphy’s exciting solo project. They hope to continue expanding the world they created, “I also just feel that art begets art and inspiration begets inspiration – we all learn from each other and push each other’s perspective, and for lack of a better phrase, I just have songs in my heart that I want to share!”

I certainly look forward to seeing where Malanaphy’s immense talent and creativity takes them next! You can listen to five tracks from the record right now! And be sure to stream “Rock” on Thursday, May 4th on your preferred platform. And don’t miss the album release show at 7th St. Entry on May 26th!

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