Listening to the tracks on Kendra & the Bunnies new album Of Vinyl feels like lead singer (and only member) Kendra Muecke is sending out pages of her diary. She’s intimate and very worldly in her easy to escape into songs. From the inward “A Series of Self” to the sociological “World Peace A Thing” to the spoken word “My Own, I’m Not There”, Muecke weaves a tapestry of self-reflection and brutal honesty. She co-pilots the listener away, to never-before-reached places of the mind.
Her words don’t dissolve quickly. Just as Maya Angelou or Joan Baez, her female voice is rooted in experience and finding the beauty around her. Within her art, she holds the key to her own experiences and years of spectating human nature. The track “Speak Kesey” is endearing. She has a bit of a crush, and gives the sense of flight and adoration in her music bed. Her use of the piano is slight; she doesn’t use the instrumentation as a crutch, but the focus is on her words. Your air (is) gonna knock me over, she exudes. Her voice is deeper in this one, toned more for provocative setting. Her natural rasp (think Jewell in “My Hands”) peaks out from under the music bed.
Muecke, who is based in Los Angeles, Calif., and is also an actor, published author and volunteer, sings with a bit more bluesy vibe in the stirring guitar piece, “Estimated Time of Arrival”. Putting a timeline on a woman’s growth and how she presents herself in a relationship is not that easy, she appears to convey. I’m like a mountain, she asserts. In the next track, “Home 4 Champaca”, she sings with more confidence these are my last confessions, furthering her vulnerability and relatability with her listener. As a listener, there were moments when I wasn’t quite following her theme or interpreting the song off the bat. “Home 4 Champaca” and “Sucré Mon Cherí” are highly enjoyable songs, I just didn’t quite understand her lyrics. I can’t deny Muecke’s gift for exploring. She’s genuine and is often only accompanied by an electric guitar or acoustic guitar.
She also tells us what we don’t often want to hear (or see). In “World Peace A Thing” she ends the song with those three words, giving the listener an inclination that this far-off idea really isn’t that unachievable. Her canvas for this song in particular is more percussion based. It’s not a full drumkit, rather, she uses hand clapping and block or perhaps hand tapping. Her story is deep and in-your-face, describing children abuse, breakdown of families, imprisonment – and so on.
Hidden meanings and deeper reactions, Of Vinyl keeps the listener in a reflective mood. Save for a few quicker tempo tracks, this collection is an acoustic, cozy songwriter’s showcase. All the songs are compelling and bursting with vivid lyrics. I think the songs that reap the most rewards are songs sung from the heart. In that case, Kendra & the Bunnies check all the boxes.