Photography & Journalism
Inklings' latest release, 'Deep Down' has an important message to it. One that effects all of us in some way without our realising.
Following the end of his time in the band Fearless Vampire Killers, Kier Kemp has taken on a solo venture in the form of 'Inklings'. His releases so far have gained him a following known as 'Butterflies' as well as a space on tour this year with the band 'I Don't Know How But They Found Me'.
The most release single from Inklings is a song addressing the important subject of toxic masculinity. It's a difficult subject to talk about for many of us, even though it has an effect on all of our lives in some way. In this track, we hear about how it can cause men to hide signs of 'weakness' such as anxiety, and how this has a negative effect on how they communicate and grow.
"You have to rebuild everything. Not just your career, but your friendships. Yourself. But I wasn't brought up in a world where men show weakness. Push down any sign of the psychological toll and carry on. 'Real men' don't get anxiety. 'Real men' don't get upset. It’s that silence that is making some people vulnerable and it needs to change." - Kier Kemp on 'Deep Down' (Clash Magazine)
The music fits with the theme of the song, beginning with the guitar opening the piece with a modern feeling which is both warm but sharp like a living thing, hopping up and down between notes like fingers twitching. There's a feeling of restlessness and action to be taken as an atmospheric sound swoops upwards subtly in the background, lifting us and carrying us forward along the track.
The sound builds with a mix of grounded minor sounding chords building up the sound in the same pattern, that sense of restless tension being made a constant presence at the switch of every chord. The tone of the instruments is what keeps it from becoming to uncomfortable - that warm electronic tone is there. It still sounds human and you can sense the presence of the instruments so much that you can picture them being played around you, which immerses you in the experience and gives you a familiar setting in which to hear the message the song tells.
One of my favourite features of the song is high, twinkling embellishments which sound almost like water dripping into the sound like a sweet rain, but even the sweetness is brought to a minor note in the pattern. In my opinion, this shows a softness and vulnerability, like the vulnerability our protagonist wants to show but has been told to hide.
The lyrics talk of the past - of a childhood and growing up being told to hide his feelings. I've found in the beginning he sounds soft, but eager, like he's telling a truth that's hard to get out and is trying to hold back some emotion. When it comes to the chorus, there's an extra sense of aggression, like he's lashing out at the rule he doesn't want to follow. I can't say if it was done on purpose or whether it just happened, but I think it's a significant element to this song.
Combined, these tools and elements form an intense experience in the form of a very catchy song. It's enjoyable, and the way that Kier has expressed his feelings in a way which shows there's beauty in vulnerability and actual harm in hiding feelings in fear of looking weak is very artful and intelligent.
I'd definitely recommend following Inklings because if this release is any indication, there are great things to come from him.
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