Monday, 6 May 2019

Album Review: Everything Trouble Meant by Katie MF (by Emma Prew)

One of my favourite new discoveries of last year was London-based folk punk artist Katie MF. Learning How To Lie was one of my favourite EPs of 2018 and now Katie, along with bandmates Ben (bass) and Tobias (drums), is back with a follow-up release featuring five brand new songs. Out on the 10th of May, Everything Trouble Meant is the name of the new EP and we were lucky enough to get an early listen. 

First up is the hugely emotional track Do Without. The song starts slowly with Katie’s incredible voice instantly holding your attention – who says vocalists in punk can’t sing?! For the most part the guitar, bass and drums take a backseat as we focus on the vocals and the story that Katie weaves. Do Without is about regretting not following your dreams at an earlier stage in your life but trying your best to make amends now. There’s a great sense of building towards the end of this four and half minute track when the volume gets amped up and Katie sings ‘I was five years old when I said ‘Hey Dad, I want to sing.’, But I spent my twenties sat behind a desk, because I thought that was sensible, I thought that was for the best. And maybe I’m past it now, I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know… but I’m going to find out.’ Leather Jacket kicks off with a drum rhythm and bassline that will instantly get your head nodding and your foot tapping – hey, maybe you’ll even have a little groove around your living room (or where ever you may be). In contrast to the heartfelt nature of the first song, here Katie packs some bitterness and fury into her vocals. Leather Jacket is a break-up song of sorts where Katie describes how 18 months of a relationship can be reduced to a few bags of your belongings returned to you by your ex – but not your favourite jacket. Musically, it’s a fun song and, lyrically, I’m sure it could be pretty relatable for many people. I’m sorry you didn’t get your jacket back Katie (spoiler alert: we learn later that she maybe does get the jacket back), but thank you for writing this catchy tune!

The third song on Everything Trouble Meant is also the EP’s lead single, Praying For Rain. We had the track on repeat at CPRW HQ before we even heard the rest of the EP because it’s brilliant. From the urgent palm-muted guitar riff that opens the song and carries on throughout, to the euphoric moment that will make you want to throw your first in the air and, err, pray for rain. Written during last year’s heatwave, the track’s title isn’t entirely metaphorical although the song is more about the heartbreak that was associated with the summer than the weather. ‘I just need a break, From this relentless summer haze, There's no air, there's no space, Just this endless fucking ache…’ When we get to the fourth song, Somewhere On A Backstreet, it’s clear that heartache and heartbreak are a bit of a theme on Everything Trouble Meant. I described The EP’s first track as being emotional but that’s nothing compared to the opening of this song. Without any instruments to accompany her, Katie softly sings ‘When it was over I took all the things that we loved, And hid them away in a box marked do not touch…’. Throughout Somewhere On A Backstreet the lyrics are sincere and the song will really pull at your heartstrings. Katie sings of knowing that a broken heart can always be mended and that things will get better but she is also honest enough to admit that, for now, she’s not okay. Which makes the title of the EP’s closing track all the more poignant – Honestly, I’m Fine. The whole of Everything Trouble Meant has been great but this song really stands out as being a bit different to what I’ve heard from Katie MF before. Sure, it’s sad and Katie sings her heartbreak once more but with its gentle acoustic guitar melodies, soft vocals and the surprising addition of some strings Honestly, I’m Fine is simply beautiful. A wonderful end to an excellent EP. You’re probably going to be hearing a lot about Katie MF this year from CPRW because we love her (the person) and them (the band) so much – and you should too!

You can stream and download Praying For Rain now over on Bandcamp. Everything Trouble Meant will be available from this Friday but you can hear it early if you come along to the release show at the Black Heart the night before (more details here)! Also be sure to like Katie MF on Facebook.

This review was written by Emma Prew.

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