Spin - "The few brief interstitial instrumentals here play almost like noise recordings, twisting piano samples around one another until they're searing and unsettling..."
Australian singer/songwriter Katie Dey's singular brand of fragmentary home-recorded pop is fragile, strange, and sometimes frightening. Taking full advantage of the recording and editing capabilities of her laptop, she vibrantly strums her scratchy-sounding guitar and programs nervous, glitchy beats. Nothing is ever straightforward with her music; it constantly feels like it's mutating and being pulled apart against its will. Most jarring of all is her voice, which she distorts into an unsettling digital croak. Similar to tUnE-yArDs, Dey's vocals are not for everyone, and may be a dealbreaker for many listeners. In the context of her music, however, they make total sense, and it's hard to imagine hearing pristine, angelic vocals over such broken, mutilated arrangements. Strangely enough, the vocals on Dey's 2016 full-length Flood Network seem a tiny bit less abrasive than on her 2015 debut asdfasdf, but they have the same startling effect. The album is a continuously flowing song cycle with numerous brief interludes connecting the "proper" songs, which themselves are usually short and scattered. Her lyrics, when decipherable, are just as uncomfortable as everything else about her music. It's hard not to squirm when her grating voice repeatedly squeals "please" near the end of "Frailty." On "Fleas," one of the album's more upbeat songs, Dey exuberantly cries "I can't wait 'til you're gone," and this sense of therapeutic release continues in fits and starts throughout the album. Not all of it is rough sailing, though; instrumental "So You Pick Yourself Up" is pleasantly trippy, with heavy delay scattering the downtempo drum beats in every direction along with gentle pianos and woodwinds. Dey's music clearly isn't going to resonate with everyone, but it's unquestionable that she has a unique vision, and Flood Network is a restlessly inventive album. ~ Paul Simpson