“Always/Never” by Kallai

The newest addition to the storied musical legacy of the Pacific Northwest, Portland-based Shoegaze project “Kallai” has burst onto the scene with great intensity as today they celebrate the release of their debut single “Always/Never.” Delivered as a modern take on the golden age of music that was the 90s, the single mixes elements of psychedelic rock, grunge, and dream pop to create an aural ambiance that elates the senses. 

The piece kicks off with a bass-heavy introduction that accompanies a long flowing guitar-driven introduction as the tone is immediately set. Distorted and hazy guitars transition between the segments and create a feeling of optimism in their delivery. The single retains a calm melodic rhythm to it throughout its entirety that sits somewhere between danceable and meditative as it carries a steady beat smoothly from start to finish.

The vocal tone of the project’s singer Cate Hukle bares a striking similarity in passion and sentimentality to that of Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins and entrances the listener with its calming demeanor. Lightly and tastefully distorted, it anchors the reality of the single’s dreamlike sentimentality.

Thematically, the piece tells a story that feels welcome when held against the traditions of the genre. The vocals deliver a classic narrative that stay true to the vein of the Shoegaze style. From the opening line “The words you read paint a picture forged by a thief. They are not hers.” it paints a picture of questing the ambiguity of the world presented at large while retaining one’s own truth in their desires.

Written by Nick Gumas





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