Kelly Lee Owens – LP.8

A marked left turn from the lushness of Inner Song, Kelly Lee Owens' goes to back to basics with LP.8 – and sounds strangely anonymous

Album Review by Dafydd Jenkins | 07 Jun 2022
  • Kelly Lee Owens - LP.8
Album title: LP.8
Artist: Kelly Lee Owens
Label: Smalltown Supersound
Release date: 29 Apr (digital); 10 Jun (physical)

Welsh producer-musician Kelly Lee Owens found herself in Oslo when travel once again ceased mid-pandemic. A spontaneous visit for some studio time with noted avant-noise producer Lasse Marhaug had suddenly become sessions for a third album. But it seems off the mark to call LP.8 an album at all. It feels more like a primordial version of her finely-tuned techno-meets-pop 2020 breakthrough Inner Song, a mind-map of its ideas without the finesse or sheen – which is to say, it simply sounds unfinished.

What is present here often feels like other peoples' ideas. Sure, there are moments like S.O (2) and Olga where Owens’ summons an earthy spirituality that positively recalls an Enya soundscape. But a larger portion of LP.8 falls just short of electronic music parody. The bookending tracks Release and Sonic 8 trade in wrought ambient-industrial musical shapes – throbbing metallic beats and drones, looped vocalisations about bodies, breath and blood – while the rising drones of Anadlu outstay their welcome for the song’s eight-minute duration.

The inadvertent draw of LP.8 is that it certainly seems like a work-in-progress, a warts-and-all steppingstone to something better yet to be realised – sadly, it's also the first time Owens has sounded like anyone other than herself.

Listen to: S.O (2), Olga, One