Nearly two years after her debut self-titled album was released, New Zealand art-rock project Proteins of Magic is fueling recent and upcoming live shows with her second single of 2023, “Flesh It Out.” While she only began releasing music under the Proteins of Magic name in 2021, Kelly Sherrod has had her fair share of experience, having spent time touring with bands from New Zealand and previously being one-half of the duo Punches, all while splitting time between Auckland and Nashville.
On “Flesh It Out,” she recaptures the gothic atmosphere consistent across all her material while repurposing it into something better described as a declaration of war.
As impressive as the production is, the vocals showcase Sherrod’s talents best. Whether it be the wispy harmonizing that opens the track or the higher register singing toward the last half, her deep voice recalls singer-songwriters such as PJ Harvey and Patti Smith but with her own spin on what those two forerunners established years prior.
What ties the song together is the drums slowly building in intensity, firstly moving at the same pace as the buzzing synths until developing a mind of their own. During the second half, they grow louder and louder, teasing what’s expected to be a significant switch-up. But it never comes, instead settling down on a more satisfying conclusion for the relatively short track than the previously teased climactic ending.
In addition to being a musician, Sherrod is also a visual artist, which becomes increasingly apparent with the visuals for “Flesh It Out.” Conceptualized by Sherrod, the music video features rapid editing that moves from scenes like Sherrod recording music to walking in random locations around the world holding the same bundle of balloons. By the end, she lets go of the balloons, not unlike the song’s urging to let go of your worries with lines on the chorus stating, “tune it out, flesh it out.”
From the sound of it, Sherrod’s creativity has no bounds. Whether debuting on the New Zealand alternative charts or getting traction on local airwaves, any “out there” idea always works in her favor. And considering Proteins of Magic keeps improving with each subsequent song, it’s only a matter of time before she reaches a point when her cult following becomes more widespread.
Words: David Sosa