Published Jun 30, 2020Little Kid have spent the past decade self-releasing five albums, developing a small but devoted fanbase as songwriter Kenny Boothby began with soft-spoken homespun folk recordings while slowly evolving into a four-piece band with a slowcore bent. The Toronto-based act are poised for a well-earned breakout with Transfiguration Highway, their first release on a label, which finds Little Kid continuing to navigate everyday life experiences with insightful wisdom, reimagining biblical language with more universal interpretations.
Much of the album's pleasantness is due to its pacing — the band know when to tiptoe delicately around dissolving piano and when to fully devote themselves to a distorted, warbled guitar line entangled with a finessed drumbeat. Songs like "What's in a Name" and "Close Enough to Kill" are astute in their simplicity, eliciting tender emotions thanks to Boothby's light instrumentals. Elsewhere, Transfiguration Highway's title track is carried by a hypnotic, repetitive acoustic riff while Boothby's pensive voice lingers as he sings about the fleeting, ever-changing nature of nostalgia.
Band member Megan Lunn's contributions have been elevated on this album, and Transfiguration Highway's most rewarding moments are Lunn and Boothby's wandering back-and-forth vocal duels. This is most wonderfully illustrated on "All Night (Golden Ring)" as their voices melt into each other in beautiful harmony, pleated with downtrodden guitars and hazy piano strokes. Both of their delicate voices become one on gentle love song "Made for Each Other."
Lead single "Thief on the Cross" shows off Little Kid's ability to write incredibly catchy pop hooks. It's peppered with Lunn's unforgettable banjo riff and Boothby's frizzled guitars, as he draws parallels between Jesus and the Penitent Thief with bands Little Kid have opened up for that have since gone on to successful careers, leaving them behind. It is done with a graciously joking smile, but with the hope that Transfiguration Highway can gain a more widespread attention that they deserve. (Solitaire Recordings)