Though it's highly sought after, music that comes from personal experience can often isolate its audience, speaking in words that have little to no meaning unless you were there to hear them first. But for Kath Myers, that phenomenon seems like a distant warning, reserved for everyone else but her. After leaving her corporate job behind and moving to L.A in her early thirties, Myers picked up a guitar and started writing the songs that would make up her debut album, Sensitive Groups. In the process, she was also on the path to becoming sober and grappling with the aftermaths of several relationships. And though it's all regurgitated in the album in specific lyrics and confessional choruses—"Just like a dark bar on a sunny day / You keep all the light away"— it somehow transcends her own highlight reel and pulls on a common string that unites us all—an imperfect life.
There's something admirable in a debut from a 30-something-year-old, where the songs aren't dipped in teenage rebellion, or first-love-gone-wrong sentimentality. There is maturity—of course—but specifically of coming to terms with yourself, even if that still means getting relationships wrong, and giving in to temptations that are bound to only make you more miserable. Songs like "According To The Law," "Dale," and "Feed Me Poison" take varied angles on a spectrum of relationships—from wistful reminiscing, to regret over ending it with someone simply due to their age, and even to an honest conversation about respecting boundaries. But Myers paints these stories in an almost comedic manner, the way she yells "I gotta get a grip!" on "According To The Law," a stunned piano melody following her along, ensuring that her voice remains the leader, her perspective is always the main character.
While Sensitive Groups largely follows a woman as she is still drinking and riddled with anxiety, in so far as to write about her paranoia that a big earthquake will kill her as she's apartment sitting a friend's house ("The Big One"), it maintains a steady pattern, rooted in brutal honesty that even when it meanders between thoughts and memories, its path somehow remains straight. It's endearing without being too loud, maudlin without being too soft, and nestled in the perfect intersection between indie rock and indie pop with its full compositions and cheeky melodies. A St. Vincent album in the style of Liz Phair. And one that we won't stop spinning for a long time.