In Review: Katie Von Schleicher - Consummation

A meditation on personal trauma, the Brooklyn artist's new album is her most fulfilling.
Posted: 29 May 2020 Words: William Lewis

Consummation, the second full-length from Katie Von Schleicher, is in part inspired by an alternative interpretation of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. In 2018, the Brooklyn-based artist re-watched the seminal film and was struck by its largely unanalysed subtext of abuse. Moved by this, the artist found the basis for her next album, one which she developed further with her own experiences of personal trauma. Her website describes the album as “at its core… the pain of being unable to bridge that vast psychic distance between oneself and another”. Isolation, despair and devotion, as well as questions of self-worth are themes that feature throughout an album layered with distorted guitars, shimmering vocals and lo-fi beats.

The deep, dark tones introduced by opening track ‘You Remind Me’, which itself has a calming sense of resentment and anger, are matched with a parallel sense of false hope in ‘Wheel’ and lead single ‘Caged Sleep’. These two have a delightfully upbeat bedrock, and yet the latter, for example, confronts anxiety. Wedged between these two is the extremely candid and emotional ‘Nowhere’; Von Schleicher almost whispers, vulnerably covering her upbringing, youth and isolation as she sings about her childhood home, being alone and empty nights. 

As the album progresses the themes become more dramatic and deeply personal. In ‘Brutality’, Von Schleicher produces a dark and cinematic song adorned with a stunning but subtle harp. Her voice and composition makes for an unsettling yet salient atmosphere facing issues of isolation and anger on one of the highlights of the record. The artist finishes penultimately with ‘Gross’, a song that opens up about the death of a friend through suicide. Stripped back and laid bare, it is a melancholic and emotional outpouring of grief before seemingly finding some form of comfort on the closing track ‘Nothing Lasts’. Ultimately, Consummation is a far more ambitious and intriguing album than her 2017 debut, Shitty Hits. It has authoritatively stamped Von Schleicher’s name on a growing list of singer songwriters exploring the essence of human issues. 

Intense and filled with emotion, Consummation is more fulfilling than anything she has ever written before.

Consummation is out now via Full Time Hobby.

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