K.Flay, the alternative rock artist who first made waves with hits like “Blood in the Cut,” has firmly established herself as one of the most recognizable voices in the alt-music sphere. Since stepping on the scene, Kristine Flaherty, the talented artist behind the pseudonym, has had several releases showing off her genre-blending mastery.
Still keeping her iconic, metronomic style and pin-sharp lyricism, Flaherty’s latest album, MONO, is continuously impressive. A piercing album, it’s intelligently crafted, cutting through the noise, baring Flaherty’s raw vulnerability. Coming after a shift in Flaherty’s personal life, MONO marks a new era for K.Flay.
The album opens with a minute-and-a-half track, “Are You Serious,” that feels like a separate art piece. Flaherty shows off her quick-witted lyricism in this overture, starting the album with a captivating intensity that will follow through the rest of the tracks.
The second track, also the first single off the album, “Raw Raw,” phases in with a haunting guitar-led riff. Marking the artist’s return to the scene, the song illustrates the chaotic and terrifying nature of vulnerability, with lyrics like “Every time I say something real I wanna take it back/ Sensitive I’m peeling back my skin/ You got me raw raw/ So emotional/ Raw raw/ Oh I feel exposed/ Chainsaw/ Buzzing at my throat.”
The single “Irish Goodbye,” featuring Pierce the Veil frontman Vic Fuentes, is the perfect mesh of both artist’s styles. A track where you can shout the lyrics along with the artists, it’s a hard-hitting song that stands alone and is a staple in the album.
“Spaghetti” is easily a favorite off of the album. A stripped-down but still kicking track, alt-rock girl band Kid Sistr joins to tell a story of self-exploration and the self-doubt that comes with it.
The album includes two interludes, “Watch Me Pt.1” and “Watch Me Pt.2.” Reminiscent of the disorder of the first track, these short-burst intermissions almost act as transitional moments in the album, separating one moment in time from another.
A follow-up to the first track, “Yes I’m Serious” takes a different but familiar spin on the initial song. Almost rapping, Flaherty ties in the whole album in this second-to-last track. The album ends on the slower track, “Perfectly Alone.” Starting off as a ballad with just Flaherty and a piano, it’s the perfect end to the album. Kicking in with the rest of the band a minute in, this song shows the sonic diversity of the album as a whole. While each song throughout the album is different and explorative, each thumps in your chest and sticks with you.
MONO feels like Flaherty’s most cohesive and vulnerable album to date. You can feel each song in your chest, a cathartic experience for both the artist herself and the listener. Flaherty has always been seen as a groundbreaking artist, but now she’s solidified her reputation and shattered expectations with this incredible album.
You can check out the album here.