Written by Travis Shosa
Following Not Enough Sky (Tapes), a collaborative EP with Goodfight released in December of 2020, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Katy Rea is set to release her debut solo album, The Urge That Saves You, on November 11. The album, recorded live at Figure 8 Recording, comes in the wake of an epiphany spurred on by co-producer, drummer, and friend Joshua Jaeger. Since relocating from Houston to Brooklyn 12 years ago, Rea found herself drifting aimlessly between short-lived acting successes and less-than-loving partners. As she quit drinking two weeks before its recording and resolved to re-examine her habits in the hopes of fully dedicating herself to music, The Urge That Saves You serves as an exercise in self-reflection and an exorcism of the baggage that prevents one from moving forward in life.
“Lord Try,” the album’s second single, opens with gentle strums before the rhythm section kicks in with a slow but forceful stomp. “Do you think love to be some sort of conclusion / Is your sanctuary another human,” Rea sings as lead guitarist Andrew Forman enters with a rumble, lending a dreamy reverberating twang that bridges the song between the earthly and heavenly realms. She’s seemingly asking these questions of herself, attempting to grasp at personal truths through a surreal fog (“All this noise is our natural state / All this dreaming while you’re awake”). The harmonized falsetto backing vocals invoke a chorus of angels as she pleads with God: not for relief, but to be tried. It could be viewed as a masochistic request, or perhaps it’s a wish for a wake-up call: one vigorous enough to catalyze a change. After building towards a cathartic crescendo, the track’s energy disperses, with its final minute a series of sparse, watery echoes as Rea fades out and floats away.
For more Katy Rea, you can watch the video for The Urge That Saves You’s first single, “We Come Back”:
Travis Shosa is the founder and editor-in-chief of Stamens/Pistils/Parties. Formerly the runner of COUNTERZINE, he has bylines at Pitchfork, The Alternative, and Post-Trash among others.