Published Oct 25, 2018In an interview with Exclaim!, singer-songwriter Kaia Kater says, about Grenades, "I have processed a lot of things and definitely feel stronger for it." This strength is in every note of her latest album. Four releases in, Kater, while exploring her family's history, is dazzling and more confident than ever before.
The most notable difference between Grenades and Kater's previous work is her use of an expanded folk palette. Produced by Erin Costelo, Grenades' placidity is luxurious. Kater's once-commanding banjo is now folded into lush layers of instrumentation. In the case of standout tracks "New Colossus" and "Grenades," banjo is not present at all; instead, the tracks shimmer with the dulcet tones of Christine Bougie's guitar.
This sonic tranquility feels like a balm for the violent imagery scattered throughout Grenades. Heavy rain compared to carpet bombs and Kater's father's descriptions of the U.S. invasion of Grenada are some of the more vivid moments. But out from this turbulence, Kater closes Grenades on a hopeful note. "Poets Be Buried" is a cross-generational exchange that touches on Kater's fears and hopes, the latter boiling down to this encouraging message: "You are your own saint, a centre to hold, a life to live."
The journey that Kater takes listeners on in Grenades is expansive and emotional, and while the road may be bumpy, Kater deftly guides you and makes Grenades a treat to listen to. (Acronym)