This album isn’t what people have come to expect from an artist nominated for an AMP for her bluesy 2011 debut Design Desire. That kind of reaction is probably what May wants most.
Abbe May’s second album begins with ‘Hurricane Heartbeat’, a synthed-up sample of her actual pulse. And despite some critical views that Kiss My Apocalypse is the Western Australian at her most obfuscating, this is really her at her most open and raw.
On ‘Tantric Romantic’ she puts aside creative stumbling blocks with the killer line “Like when he said I couldn’t make the scene / And I replaced him with a drum machine.” The delicious meter of this fuck-you is all the more tasty given our narrator has just finished confessing her love of Timberlake and K-Pop.
The album’s biggest single – thus far – is ‘T.R.O.U.B.L.E’. May summons space throughout the big, mechanically resonant chorus, before creating a crushing claustrophobia in the minimal verses. Despite returning to the song for the lilting hook, it’s the promise of confinement in the verses that provides the darkest pleasure.
The swagger continues on ‘Karmageddon’, where May spits, “I think you say whatever you need to / Get your fuck on and somebody to pay for you.” Further down the line, the appallingly-titled ‘Sex Tourette’s’ wobbles and wanders in something of a musical miasma, never really surpassing its promisingly snappy chorus.
‘Napalm Baby!’ packs a similar sense of teetering madness – most obviously in the veering guitar bridge – but anchors it with a dominant and simple riff.
The title track is probably the tenderest cut. There’s a wounded quality to the expansive style of May’s vocals here, and it’s augmented by the bass of long time creative partner Sam Ford.
BY BENJAMIN COOPER
Kiss My Apocalypse is out now through MGM.