This Friday, Madeline Kenney will release her stunning sophomore album Perfect Shapes, produced by Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes’ Jenn Wasner. Ahead of its release this week, Kenney shares the album’s title track “Perfect Shapes” alongside a conversation with Billboard. “The phrase ‘Perfect Shapes’ floated into my head one evening when I was sitting outside my Oakland apartment and staring at a fence,” Kenney explains. “I wasn’t sure what it meant but I knew it would be my next record. I walked back inside and wrote this song, and only now do I really see what I was talking about; nostalgia and pain, leaving and staying, seeing and appreciating what is beautiful and what hurts.” Listen to the song and read more about the forthcoming record via Billboard HERE.
Madeline Kenney will embark on a North American tour in support of Perfect Shapes starting later this month. See below to find a show near you, and get your tickets HERE.
Produced by Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, Perfect Shapes arrives just a year after Kenney’s Toro y Moi-produced debut album Night Night at the First Landing, and proves to be an unexpected leap forward in both composition and musicality. Recorded in Durham, NC in January 2018, five months after the release of Night Night, Perfect Shapes marks Wasner’s first foray into producing another artist’s work, and the album is permeated by the pair’s collaborative spirit, with both artists playing multiple instruments on the record. “The first time I heard the songs that would come together to form Madeline Kenney’s Perfect Shapes, I understood what it felt like to really have a piece of art speak directly to you…hearing her words felt like someone whispering in my ear the contents of my own mind,” explains Wasner. “This was my first time producing music other than my own, and it was one of the only times I’ve ever experienced working exclusively with women. And it was a creative experience unlike any I’ve ever had.” Pre-order the album, outOctober 5th on Carpark Records, HERE or HERE.
Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Madeline Kenney began studying classical piano and dance in kindergarten, and grew to believe her future lay in modern dance choreography. Not one to be tied to a singular pursuit, Kenney took a hard left in college, studying Interpersonal Neurobiology and supporting herself with a career in baking. Music remained a constant however, and after moving to the Bay Area in 2013, Kenney quickly found footing in the supportive arts community in Oakland. There, she met and began collaborating with Chaz Bear (Toro y Moi), which led to the production of her Signals EP and later her debut album, Night Night at the First Landing. Both releases were received with great critical acclaim, and saw Kenney exploring the sounds within her self-proclaimed twang-haze genre, defined by cathartic breakdowns and lyrical sensitivity.
Perfect Shapes sees Kenney leaping headfirst into fresh and adventurous territory, largely eschewing conventional rock structures in favor of theme and melody. Its ten songs are full of surprises big and small – from vibrant synth lines to taut bass figures and subtly modulated vocals – that instead of feeling fussed over, reveal Kenney’s penchant for elegant and abstract composition. Perfect Shapes leans on some of the foundational pieces of Night Night – fuzzed-out guitar tones, coy wordplay and Kenney’s notably strong voice – but with an unconventional approach that allows them to bloom, reincarnated.
Kenney’s dazzling arrangements form the perfect backdrop for the complex and open-ended questions at the core of Perfect Shapes: How do you love another when it hurts to do so? What is the physical limit to which one can carry the emotions of others? How does a modern female artist reckon with the expectations demanded of her femininity? Yet for all the notes of doubt and fear that Kenney raises, she delivers each song with impressive nuance and confidence. Dealing with subjects of femininity, societal pressures, expectation, value and self-worth, Kenney stands tall in a moment of musical bravery and personal clarity.