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Mo Kenney - 'The Details' Album Review


1. Cat’s Not A Cake

2. On The Roof

3. Details

4. June 3rd

5. Maybe I Am

6. Counting

7. Out The Window

8. If You’re Not Dead

9. Unglued

10. I Can’t Wait

11. Video Game Music

12. Punchy

13. Feeling Good

Mo unflinchingly confronts her annihilation and eventual redemption, leaving nothing out on this release. Combining elements of bruising Rock ’n’ Roll, vivid psychedelia, and haunting, left-of-the-dial Pop, Kenney navigates the darkest waters in her life with self deprecation, genuine soul baring, and typical black humour.

The Album starts with a 35 second little ditty which makes you think that this will be a quirky album but ‘On The Roof’ soon dispels this with it’s pumping self destruction.

‘Details’ another short, poppy snippet, this time less than 30 seconds long. Simple guitar and snare drums give it a gentler vibe. This leads into ‘June 3rd’ which is a spectral dreaming track with looping vocals. Mo deals with her alienating behaviour, aggravated by alcohol.

‘Maybe I Am’ starts with a fuzzy guitar and is almost like a 90’s Britpop number. The same riff goes throughout, this is one of my favourites tracks. I like the Britpop feel, the riff and the distorted fuzzy guitar.

The next short snippet ‘Counting' gives a real feel of the incapability to mentally cope with life. This is followed with another sweet simple song ‘Out The Window’. Simple guitars give this a dreamy quality, and you start to thing that Mo is coming to terms with what is happening ‘I threw my love out the window’, ‘Everything is coming undone’.

‘If You’re Not Dead’ is one of the best tracks on the album. After the previously stripped back calm tracks, this gets the album rocking again. With a punky guitar, and a complimentary vocal, it is all a bit anarchic.

‘Unglued’ again contrasts with an up beat Pop Folk vibe similar to that produced by Kirsty MacColl back in the day. Like Kirsty, Mo lays dark and extremely clever lyrics over the light arrangement, such as ‘Either too much drink, or I’ve had too much to think’, ‘I get used to my friends not coming round’ and ‘Everybody said you’d leave me for dead, the voices in my head, said you’d leave me for dead’.

‘I Can’t Wait’ is another dreamy number with a ticking chord throughout, and fuzzy gentle guitar. That realisation that things are not that bad, ‘Open up your eyes, it’s not the end of the World’.

‘Video Game Music’ is another short, fuzzy, bridge between tracks, which leads into ‘Lights Out’, a simple dreamy stripped back song with a simple chord progression through the track.

The penultimate track is another quirky, number with black humour, recounting how she picked herself up after a ‘meathead’ hit her and fled. The last line sums up the humour when she says ‘I took myself to the hospital, and the Doctor was rough with me’. The album ends positively with ‘Feeling Good’, which is as calm as it is simple. You know that Mo is finally coming out of the nightmare with the line, ‘Is this what it feels like for everyone else’.

‘The Details’ flows well and is a well constructed album. It deals with a very tough subject without being too dark or self indulgent. I found that it got better each time I listened to it.

‘The Details’ is an honest and reflective album. Sometimes when artists write about relationship and mental breakdowns, it is angry and outward looking, a musical version of revenge porn. Mo Kenney has not done this. She has been self reflective, and realised that Mo Kenney’s biggest enemy is herself. This has been created with a mix of musical styles and is lyrically very good. It invites you in and then takes you on an uncomfortable journey.

Review - Tony Creek

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