On November 19, 2021, indie artist Elly Kace is releasing a new concept album, Nothing I see means anything. Among the tracks on the album is “Bless.” A tribute to the great singer-songwriters of the late 50s with an indie twist unlike any other.
On her website, Kace’s music career is described as having been “defined by ceaseless curiosity and passion.” You don’t need a magnifying glass to see traces of her curiosity at play, as “Bless,” and likely its parent album, feels like an experiment. One that proves the hypothesis that indie music is the perfect genre for the adventurous.
“Bless” moves like a late-50s tune reminiscent of doo-wop. Kace cites Carole King as being an inspiration for “Bless.” In the vocals and piano melody that becomes the most apparent. King is revered for her more quiet pieces that focus more on emotion with a strong realness. There is a level of optimism in King’s work that translates into Kace’s. “Bless” has a peaceful and wholesome message. “All there is to do, is bless” the chorus claims. Simple yet powerful.
The instrumentation of “Bless” is a blend of genuine and synthetic. The genre that this song is attributed to existed before synthesizers took off. As such, it should feel a little jarring hearing synthetic elements in this type of song, but it doesn’t. The focus is given to the piano and vocals. The percussion and rhythm guitar are very much in the background, but they remain consistent driving forces. I am grateful for it as it means I can hear Kace’s vocals more clearly.
Some of the backing vocal work here is highly uncommon and pleasantly unique. From imitating bits of the piano melody to chanting, the vocals are filled with fun intricacies. Kace’s lead vocals are phenomenal and learning that she was once an opera singer is no surprise given her remarkable range. There are parts that sound like an entire chorus singing but it is in fact just a multi-layered Kace in all her glory.
Rich with textures, there is a lot to unpack in the ambience of “Bless.” Natural sounds like rain paired with electronic runs somehow meld together seamlessly, which still stumps me. At several points, the synthetic elements crescendo and briefly vanish, shortly after the bridge for example. The bridge sounds like a segment straight from Broadway. The influence of Kace’s New York base seeps through again.
Pure showmanship is the best way to describe “Bless.” Kace displays immense amounts of professionalism and experience but never shows off. Despite her avant-garde approach, Kace has a clear direction and a sound that is almost incomparable. “Bless” is easily one of my favorite songs released in 2021, an opinion I wasn’t expecting to form before listening to Kace’s music for the first. Thanks to its greatness, I find myself lacking the words to describe my excitement for the release of Nothing I see means anything. I have no doubt that Kace will continue to see well-deserved success in the indie world and hopefully outside of it as well.