review: “dry cry” by moodring

0007934838_10.jpgmy friend kieran parmelee is the brilliant artist behind moodring. on dry cry they experiment with sounds and techniques while sticking to familiar subjects: coy crushes, polyamorous text messages, and being at a party when you should have stayed home. the songs on dry cry are distinct, but blend cohesively to create a robust album. dry cry is divided into two parts: part one is composed of experimental pop, and part two of vocal-free electronic tunes.

dry cry begins with a minimalist and minor piano tune, “you could have faked it better” and transitions directly into “stay home.” kieran perfectly captures the feeling of staying at a party you should have skipped: “all this small talk is frying my brain / ten times i’ve said i’m doing okay / i’m always doing just okay.” this track sets the scene for the album’s mediocre-party vibe.

dry cry rises in playful flirtation on “nice vibes” and builds a sexual edge on my favorite track of the album, “me too.” kieran employs a catchy beat and a fuzzy, robotic effect on their vocals as they sing “when i met you i thought i might like you / when i met you i thought i might bite you / when i met you i thought i might ____ you / when i met you i thought you might ____ me too.” the cadence is clever and the sexual tension is palpable. the lyrical plot thickens as kieran muses “when i ____ you i thought i might love you / when you _____ me i thought i might love me too”. if you listen to one track on this album, let it be this one.

moodrings brings us back down again with “D.S.M”, also known as depression sugar mama. a melancholy R&B-inspired tune full of falsetto harmonies and ambivalence, D.S.M. is classic example of kieran’s dark and dry sense of humor:”do you want me to drop it low for you emotionally / i’ll demoralize you ’til you can’t see straight / i hope that’s your idea of a super hot date.” this tune and the rest of the album lend a sense of anticipated disappointment, and give the sense of going about the business of partying and flirting and fucking to forge through feelings of depression. “bad friend” and “;) sweet dreams” are equally catchy and enjoyable tracks that put a frank and clear lens on specific moments in intimate relationships and social dynamics.

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moodring aka kieran parmelee

“enthused,” the final track of part one, turns inward with a single sincere repeated line: “i never knew to be enthused / until it was too late.” i felt touched by this admission and found myself wondering about the damage done, when it was “too late.”

part two is a collection of purely electronic tunes that continue to carry the listener through the energies and emotions of a party we are at whether we want to be or not. with track names like “high pony,” “dim light,” and “caffeine dream,” it’s up to us to decide what these songs are about. the instrumental melody of “interest of time” is reminiscent of “enthused,” and i am curious if it may not be too late for the album’s narrator, after all. the album ends with “thinking too hard,” the only track on part two that includes any vocals at all. it’s slow and dissonant, and leaves me wondering if my interpretations of the music are anything more than my own projections.

dry cry is the logical follow-up to beach goth, kieran’s two-piece “bittercute” garageband twice as nice’s 2015 release.

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