With a growing audience of over 3 million streams on Spotify, following the fruitful collaboration on 2019s I Need Sound, the American-born London-resident musician Erin Kleh has continued her work with co-producer Kristofer Harris (Belle & Sebastian, Ghostpoet) and recorded new album Sink to Swim at his Squarehead Studios in Kent.
“If I were to find a consistent theme throughout most of these songs I would say many of them touch on dreaming or hoping for someplace better”, says Erin. “They are about making changes and taking risks, hence the title”.
The album embodies Erin’s playful “antifolk” style (Jesus Christ, Panda’s Song, Sealife) but also employs a more sombre tone, with significantly darker themes, in songs such as Breathe and Keep Her. Others strike a balance somewhere between but all are sincere and are built on the self-deprecating storytelling that is very much Kleh’s stock-in-trade.
For example, the opening track Sink To Swim gives the album its title. “It’s one of my favourite songs from this group of recordings”, says Erin. “It traces a selection of moments spanning from my childhood, transitioning to London, coming of age and finally, into this moment, on stage performing the song”.
Also, Breathe, “probably my favourite song on the album… an adult speaking to her former child self and asking her to consider the dreams she is chasing carefully”.
Of lead single Keep Her Erin distils the theme to, “the circumstances of a girl who is bound to her relationship with a controlling partner”. Subject matter that is intensely personal to Erin who “found myself in similar relationship dynamics in the past.”.
The songs on Sink to Swim are as forthright and personal as they are engaging and the candid nature of Erin’s often fearlessly candid lyrics make repeated listens rewarding.
However, it’s not all dark and serious. Panda’s Song – working title “The Happy Song” – is written as though to a lover but “it’s for a cat called Panda. We recorded it almost completely live and I think this comes across in the delivery. It’s very playful”. And Sealife, “a dreamy song about asking another person to essentially jump in the sea and take a risk with a new life together”.
Erin has toured extensively with her band, most recently completing a successful 20 date Italian tour in March. This is to be followed up with further UK and continental shows in 2023. Lead single Keep Her received support from both BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio London and with sessions for BBC 6 Music, Radio 1 airplay and major commercial syncs for Google and LG her left-field songwriting is gradually reaching the wider audience that it deserves.
Erin K’s new album Sink to Swim is out now on vinyl LP, CD and digital.
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