Think Portugal. The Man, except folk, or as Kera and The Lesbians prefer to address their genre, bipolar folk. While both bands’ voice and vibe have a certain similarity, the latter have a uniqueness that cannot be missed. Kera and The Lesbians released a self-titled album and it is a collection of music that can only be described as psychedelic folk, which before listening to this album, I did not know existed.
The concept album, which delves into the person behind the music, consists of eight songs that detail lead singer Kera Armendariz living in a world so black and white, despite fitting more in the grey area. From beginning to end, the album shows her inability to feel fully male or fully female, and her ultimate discovery of being okay with herself.
With Kera’s favourite musician of all-time being Elvis Presley, it only makes sense for the album to begin and end with a vibe of the late, great Elvis, though a modernized, new age version. “One Moment Please” and “Walls of Giza” pay homage to her idol.
Continuing with the vibe of the album, “Nail Biter” is old school noir with a jazzy undertone that complements the bipolar folk nature of the band quite well. Within the first 10 seconds of the song, the listener is transported to a jazz club where whiskey is all around and the scent of cigars overpowers the air.
In “Green” the listener travels back in time to an especially light hearted version of 20th century France. It’s as if the backdrop of the song is a small café in Paris where one simply sits there and observes the crowd while drinking their cappuccino.
While the album has the old school style that Kera and The Lesbians are known for, the band does not forget to pair that with songs of a more modern nature.
Easily the most upbeat song of the album, “Witch’s Tit” has an instrumental that will remind the listener of SpongeBob SquarePants with the classic guitar riffs and the quick change in pace to suit the lyrics, as if someone were surfing. However, it has a hidden darkness in its lyrics, much like “Cold Wind Blows.” Both of these songs convey a darker message in a hidden manner, thanks to the instrumental, which plays a pivotal role.
“November” is alternative folk at its finest. All throughout, the psychedelic and undeniable quirkiness are ever present in the instrumental and lyrics, respectively.
When the lyrics fade away during certain moments of “Balls,” there is a sense of eeriness added by an alien-esque synthesizer. The added affect of the synthesizer further cements the album as a psychedelic refuse.
The instrumental in each song reflects the message and the tone it is emitting, and every song has a psychedelic vibe that gives you a natural high, especially if you were to listen to them on a late night drive or simply lying in bed, awake at night.
Kera and The Lesbians held on to their self-titled album and its songs for so long to perfect it, and she’s finally ready to let it go and continue writing and perfecting new songs for our pleasure and her own. With Kera and The Lesbians as their first full release, the band is poised for success in the near future and beyond.