With this new single, psychedelic throwbacks and nineties alternative rock shine through on Judah Kim’s ‘The Real Kind’.
Judah Kim’s always had a bit of an affinity with the past. His previous singles "Back Door“ and “Hey There Kids“ trifled with Radiohead-inspired alt-rock, with dreamy textures sugar-coating his angst-ridden vocals. But this time he's more relaxed, opening himself up to a wider range of influences along the way.
Psychedelic undertones come through with the mellow chords and chromatic shifts in the harmony, giving it a gentler lilt than heard in his previous singles. Delicately placed backing vocals and electric guitars reinforce this approach, providing a comforting background to someone accepting their lover can't offer them anything "real".
Using more expansive structures allows him to show off his producing and arranging skills, mixing psychedelic production values with bluesy instrumental sections that bring everything back down to earth. There's a bit of Sgt Pepper alongside Let it Be roots stuff in this one, with the old-style rock hilt avoiding things getting stuck in the psychedelic stratosphere for too long.
He pulls out all the stops with the break on “She’s Got All the Answers“, feeling like an ELO “Mr Blue Sky“ tribute as the choral backings build up to a climax. His manipulated vocals break through the texture like an epiphany, creating a satisfying bridge to the guitar solo that follows.
Kim's lyrics always seem aimed at someone emotionally hard and calloused, closed off without good reason. Talk of smoke clearing away to reveal “what the time has made – a wisdom of steel“ should say it all. He never gets clear enough on what he’s saying to dispel the hazy aura of the music, staying vague and playing with the sound of words, giving a fleeting impression of emotions that have passed – e.g. “An intangible work of art, forged in fire and broken hearts“.
If you liked his previous stuff then this should be no problem for you. He’s taken what he’s done before and expanded the room for more influences, turning the pendulum back to the sixties. Impressively produced and with some nicely written tunes, it’s Judah Kim at his finest.