K.Flay, Inside Voices EP
With a penchant for bitingly relatable lyricism and moody grooves, K.Flay is back with Inside Voices. She blends rock, pop, punk, and a whole myriad of influences seamlessly to make an EP that doesn’t dip for a second, simultaneously chilled and explosive – and definitely feels like a milestone. With features from rock royalty Tom Morello and Travis Barker, and some of her best songwriting to date, K.Flay stomps into the spotlight with the soundtrack to your angry girl summer.
Four Letter Words, the lead single, sets up the tone of Inside Voices perfectly. A slick instrumental reminiscent of K.Flay’s previous collaborator grandson, a churning vocal line that it’s impossible not to be hooked by, and spitting lyrics that well and truly cement the fact that this EP is actually a rebellion against using your ‘inside voice’ – nope, K.Flay is ready to scream and shout. Good Girl hits on this even harder; it’s an absolute anthem to wild teenage antics, but more importantly, hanging on to this youthful energy into your 20s. The euphoric instrumentals are carefree and airy, but the lyrics buzz with angst – Olivia Rodrigo’s album is the perfect gateway drug to Good Girl, which could be the big sister tune to the moody hiss of Brutal.
Travis Barker and Tom Morello’s seal of approval make for yet more EP highlights. The questionably titled Dating My Dad, fittingly featuring Travis a.k.a the current dad of pop punk, turns into a bop about an unsatisfying, uncomfortable relationship, K.Flay lamenting about jealousy and confusion over a sunny instrumental – in an undertone, she mutters “fuck ‘em or become ‘em”, utterly nailing down that pop-punk catharsis in a song that it’s so delightful to whine along to. And of course, Barker’s contributions add that sheen that’s becoming so characteristic of his features, adding K.Flay to the hallowed gang of Barker’s pop-punk kids alongside Willow, MGK, and many many more.
TGIF, Tom Morello’s appearance, might just be the high point of the EP though. There’s stiff competition for the top spot, don’t get us wrong, but there’s something dark and addictive about K.Flay’s assertive delivery and the keening synth backdrop that’s just so effortlessly cool. The pair are restrained and gigantic at the same time, coursing through tense, restrained verses before bursting into a huge guitar drop – and we’re ready and waiting to cop t-shirts with the line “middle fingers up till the reaper shows up”.
The EP closes on an introspective moment – My Name Isn’t Katherine sees K.Flay at her fastest lyrically, leaning into her rap side for a deliciously pacey reflection on selfhood and celebrity culture with some of her sharpest flow ever. It’s the EP’s most held-back, but also intensely powerful for it. Inside Voices touches on a whole world of angst in its subject matter, ranging from relatable and tongue-in-cheek to downright painful, and its real strength comes from this variety. K.Flay does so much, and she nails it all, and Inside Voices is one fantastically cohesive package of everything she’s about.
Inside Voices is out today.