Marking her sound and individuality with the warm tune “Back to the Start” at the end of last year, KALI is dominating the landscape of indie rock at only 16-years-old. The time has come for her EP release CIRCLES and it’s the perfect chronicle of an unstable relationship through a mature lens you wouldn’t expect a 16-year-old to understand.
Starting with “Back to the Start,” which feels like California sunshine in a bottle, we hear KALI truly embrace her independence and share her post-breakup thoughts. The tune then moves into “Lucy” which gives a cheeky 3rd person view of someone KALI seems to know well, describing a friendship that feels like more than it is, but “Lucy” is resistant to share her true feelings. The following tune is frantic and vibey “Too Tired.” Full of gritty guitar sounds and an explosive chorus, “Too Tired” takes spunky production and provides a nice juxtaposition to KALI’s songwriting that dictates the feeling of running low on energy trying to give everyone her all. I’m sure many of us can relate to this nature and have all been at that breaking point.
The EP continues with her cool, synth-laden tune “I Just Wanna.” The indie rock song uses sparkling 80s sounds and a funky beat to bring both a chilling and energized ambience to the forefront. Following “I Just Wanna” is another new tune accompanying the EP’s release. “Someone to Hold” is a slower tune and a side of KALI we haven’t yet seen. Starting with romantic string synths and moving into a dissonant piano, the young artist opens up about the love she desires, but can’t quite seem to get. The tune delivers heart-breaking lyrics and a unique performance unlike the other tunes. The CIRCLES EP ends with “Again,” which feels like an awakening. The chorus opens up the soundscape in a major way that feels revealing and finite, but we all know to never say never…and then the motions of the cyclical relationship resume as the tune flows smoothly right into “Back to the Start.”
CIRCLES marks KALI’s emergence onto the scene after being named an artist to watch in 2021 by NYLON earlier this year. A recognized musical talent from a young age, she plays a majority of the instruments on the project herself, with additional production from Miro Mackie (The Neighbourhood, St. Vincent, Wallows) and Daniel Chae (of Run River North). The EP synthesizes KALI’s own experiences as a teenager, and those of her friends via stories and recorded voicemails, into a cohesive body of work centered around her own self-discovery.