Thanya Iyer
Topshelf Records
Montréal, QC
RIYL: Bernice; early Maylee Todd; Laura Barrett

Though it might be hard to pin down Thanya Iyer’s sound — is it jazz? Is it pop? Is it folk? — there’s no mistaking that the band, named for its primary songwriter, has accomplished something truly rare with their latest album, KIND

In its expansive, expressive way, KIND addresses mental health, identity, and belonging, supported by an entire ecosystem of sounds that feed into and off of one another. Beginning with “I Woke Up (In The Water),” the group conjures the natural world with a field recording of a chorus of cricket chirps and bird calls, before it is enveloped in plucked and bowed strings, Iyer’s expressive vocals, glowing synths, supportive bass, and rolling percussion like a creeping shadow cast on a forest floor from the tree canopy above. Nature and Iyer’s proximity to it is a major theme of the album’s lyrics and the music shores up these themes through the sounds evoked. The band’s fearless exploratory disposition also helps them coax out rhythms and tone colours that make the entire listening experience feel fresh and immersive, in complete lock-step with Iyer on this journey of self-discovery.

Michael Rancic