For the past eight years, Australian singer-songwriter Katie Dey has released an album nearly every year, sometimes dropping joint projects with frequent collaborator Devi McCallion or inviting others to remix her material. As of late, she’s been performing in the Melbourne area, keeping things interesting by inviting other artists or reworking her own tracks in new and exciting ways.
And on “hoarder,” the second single to her sixth solo project, never falter hero girl, released on Oct. 27, Dey continues to utilize glitched-out vocals and instruments to make an immersive listening experience that shows her unique perspective on personal topics.
Whatever direction you think “hoarder” will take, expect the opposite. With Dey’s signature digitized voice, filtered through what sounds like an analog computer, she lets the vocals wallow in the ecosystem of electronic production. Eventually, “hoarder” comes to a standstill toward the end, allowing the track to build back up until it crescendoes into a synth explosion.
Even with the, at times, harsh bass, the song holds onto a fragile softness reflective of Dey’s transparency. Her style is reminiscent of artists like Laura Les of 100gecs, someone she’s worked with before on the remix album Urdata. That’s not to say Dey is unoriginal, far from it. The brutally honest lyrics alone are enough to prove she’s as idiosyncratic as they come, confronting her shortcomings and comparing herself to “an old house built by the sea.”
Kaite Dey’s music video for “hoarder” backs up the lyrics’ introspection, opting for simplistic visuals that feature Dey sitting in her room beside her black cat. While the single calls attention to itself with its unique take on the traditional pop structure, the candid video never changes or takes a drastic turn into an impromptu stage production. The decision to keep things simple works, adding to the loneliness at the song’s core.
The last 20 seconds of the song eerily tease a potential transition into the next song on the album. It’s the perfect example of just how unpredictable Dey can be while simultaneously demonstrating she never has a shortage of ideas to execute. With her recent nomination for the Arts Access Amplify Award at the upcoming Music Victoria Awards, her formula hasn’t failed her yet, and “hoarder” suggests never falter hero girl won’t either.
Words: David Sosa