Maria Kelly: The Sum of the In-Between – A reflective yet expansive work

Fri, Oct 15, 2021, 05:00

   
 

Album:
The Sum of the In-Between

Artist:
Maria Kelly

Label:
Veta Music

Genre:
Singer / Songwriter

Written and recorded in a small cottage on the south coast of Ireland in 2020, Maria Kelly’s The Sum of the In-Between is a reflective piece of work, but one that is in many ways expansive, posing open-ended questions about the shapeshifting nature of frailty and ways of making it through.

The opener, Panic, is a glitchy beginning that folds in a quickening of the breath and a flurry of heartbeats before settling into the measured, piano-led Track 1. A pleasing restlessness underpins the atmosphere of the entire record; it is there in the glassy vocal on Martha and the rushing melody of the Feist-like Eight Hours, and the latter’s sense of how to “stay out of touch”.

There are some lovely moments – the subtle percussion on Someone Else complements the spindly guitar of 1Bed – and there is an earthiness to certain lyrics, as on Like I Used To (“Do you remember the time we cried in the supermarket?”).

Kelly’s beautiful vocals provides the life to this record. The audio clips scattered throughout are decorative but unnecessary. An assured but easy kind of sophistication drives certain compositions – Gut Feeling swirls and builds to an echoey spacey place, and there is a charm to Nobody But Me, a song about saving yourself. 

The title song is a distillation of the entire record, a chasing of sounds that move from meditative to tense, revealing a relatability, a graceful one.