Kid Cornered and the Ice Chest Orchestra is the solo project and brainchild of Australian musician Matthew Toohey. Toohey has played in various bands over the years, as loopholes is his fifth release under Kid Cornered through Half A Cow Records.
Toohey is primarily a guitarist, but he could hold his own with really any instrument he spends time with. He played all of the instruments on the album and recorded it at his home studio, citing that his usage of prescribed pain medication was a vital element in terms of shaping the album’s sparkling and atmospheric sound.
The project is chock-full of funky, psychedelic tunes that become more addictive as the album progresses. Toohey’s sound is lonely, employing slight repetition in his delightful, yet nasally vocals that almost always come accompanied with a twangy electric guitar; a sound that’s become somewhat iconic among indie rock groups like Beach Fossils and Deerhunter.
At the same time, loopholes is not a project that remains comfortable where it is. It’s clear that Toohey isn’t afraid to explore different moods in his music, while staying true to his sound in the end. The production quality is excellent considering that Toohey recorded the project at his own backyard studio in the Blue Mountains, which he describes as “the perfect place to live and make music.”
Some tracks have explicable themes, while others have far more symbolic lyricism. “No High” is a tiresome track that uses drawn-out, echoing guitar screeches underneath more pleasant playing and harmonics. The song captures beauty in loneliness to me. It’s what you hear when you’re lying awake in bed at 2 a.m. minus any fear factor.
“Smoking Water” sounds like what if feels like to get high. A lot of musicians try to capture this sentiment so much and often fail, yet here, you witness something special. Toohey drifts into another world here, relying on a neither happy nor sad riff that holds the foundation for his vocals to paint a picture of a dark paradise.
This project should certainly turn some heads. Whether Toohey continues to make music under Kid Cornered and the Ice Chest Orchestra or another act, I think that his will to explore different sounds and sentiments will gain him more attention as an artist.
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