Kimya Dawson

I'm Sorry That Sometimes I'm Mean

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The sound is lo-fi, with occasional unidentifiable room noises intruding over a persistent low hum. The songs are quirky, with titles seldom cropping up prominently in the chorus -- for that matter, it's hard to find a chorus in most of these stream-of-consciousness pieces. Samples and rhythm tracks can be extremely bizarre; "Talking Ernest," for example, stumbles along over a crude cymbal loop as exclamations from one of those string-pull talking figures jab through a simple I-IV guitar strum. In other words, technical flaws and inexplicable oddities riddle I'm Sorry -- and none of them matter. In an almost tuneless monotone (except for her screeching, cathartic, and mystifying recitation of geographical names in the album's last moments), Kimya Dawson offers songs whose childlike language points to darkly introspective undercurrents. The fairytale feel of "Wandering Daughter," for example, infuses a sense of creepy foreboding into lines like "[I'll] give you my life if you give me a quarter," while the reassuring sound of a running shower takes on a pall of impending doom as the words reel between a child's plea and visions of dark violence on "Hold My Hand." By striking a balance between the ravages of experience and the innocence of a trusting nature, Dawson achieves a kind of eloquence that sophisticated production values cannot buy.

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