The best part about independent music is the commitment that so many artists have to their craft. Their sound may or may not be that which would appear on any local radio station, but by golly they play every instrument they can get their hands on and sing like there’s no tomorrow. They do this because they are filled with passion for the art of music, not the desire to score some bling and a music video filled with hotties. Although a little cash never hurt anyone.
Lauren K Newman, AKA LKN, is one of these musicians who takes great care in her music. Self-taught and full of moxie, she plays every instrument on the album and also fills each track with amazing vocal energy. She claims to put her highly rhythmic, drum-based instrumentation first when it comes to music, feeling compelled to tell her stories through more textural avenues than straightforward vocals. There is a definite feeling that the words take a backseat, and because of this, they often feel weak but always genuinely full of thought. Her vocals at times resemble that of Shirley Manson, but they are frequently off-key and lay a bit flat; however, this doesn’t really take away from the album too much and in fact gives it more of a raw, in-the-moment quality. In “I Can Think of a Better Question,” she belts out, “Are you even my honey?” and slides her voice up and down like one would slide their finger on the fingerboard of a guitar. While I would not choose to listen to this song of my own accord, it’s an impressive vocal showing that I bet would be quite fun during a live set.
The most stand-out quality of this album is the driving, highly-energetic drumming that provides a strong foundation for each of the 13 tracks. At times I wish I could wipe out about half of the vocals to let the music really shine through. It’s surprising to me that the album doesn’t feature even one song without the use of her voice, especially given how much weight she puts on her instrumental talent. In “Once Very Long Ago,” she uses softer, more somber harmonies, and this works very well for her. However, the following track “Freeze” practically imitates the vocal style and pitch as well as the music, which helps to make the last half of the album a bit monotonous. With the energy remaining at a high level throughout the majority of the album, by the time the listener reaches the end, there is a feeling of overload. Perhaps an instrumental breather or track based on a slower tempo midway through the album would’ve helped to avoid the feeling of being run over by beefy guitars.
The album closes with an unexpected piano ballad “Close the Door” that, while the softer vocal harmonies and plinking piano do provide some fresh air, I can’t help but be annoyed with the line “You show me yours, I’ll show you mine” that is continuously repeated throughout the song. But this balmy style works well, and I hope to see her explore this a little more with the added instrumental layering that she seems to do really well. Postulate 1 is definitely an accomplishment for a one-girl band that will hopefully continue to grow as she adds to her list of talents and looks ahead to her next effort.