Crucial questions around healing, cultural identity, and disability are among the many subjects visited by Thanya Iyer's sophomore album, KIND. Although represented by a concise title, KIND explores an expansive universe where Iyer and her band examine interpersonal relationships, ideas of home and destination, and our collective responsibilities to one another. To aid in this journey of big, difficult questions, Iyer enlists the help of a huge cast of musicians, with guest features ranging from brass trios, vocal sextets, flautists, and harpists.
Underscoring its explorative nature, the constant movement of KIND melds the sounds of experimental pop and improv into a magical amalgam that teems with flashes of jazz and nuanced electronics. Iyer's rhythm section pulsates with genre-defying palettes of blips and skitters that twist elegantly into the melodic voices of interlocking synth, strings, and piano, all led by Iyer's enrapturing lilt. The rhythmic direction of bassist Alexander Kasirer-Smibert and percussionist Daniel Gélinas clears a navigable path in an otherwise unnavigable setting, built on the pair's understated yet intriguing expertise.
The most succinct distillation of the album's themes is perhaps found in KIND's tracklist. "Please Don't Hold Me Hostage for Who I Am, Who I Was" and "Bring Back That Which is Kind to You" inspire philosophies of self-care and emergent reconfigurations of justice, calling on listeners to self-reflect and detach from our preconceptions of ourselves and our identity. At the end of its course, KIND arrives at the conclusion of acceptance and resolve: acceptance of our collective circumstance, and the resolve to make the choice to do better.
"Every single sound is arranged just so... All of it creating a type of sure, slow, steady movement, a fusion of indie, ambient, and soft jazz music that twinkles and tiptoes toward an uncertain destination, an expedition focused on reflection and growth."-The Alternative, on KIND
"Fall into the lyrical lull and this record will elevate you to another level. Intricate, wistful, observant and beautiful."-Circuit Sweet, on KIND
"...a lovely set of expansive, exploratory, earthy pop that's characterized by spacious jazz and ethereal folk tendencies as well as a subtle experimental and improvisatory streak."-KEXP, on KIND
"Refreshing and whimsical, “Please Don’t Hold Me Hostage for Who I Am, Who I Was” opens a festival of worldly sounds, complete with folksy flutes and acoustic percussion. Thanya Iyer’s voice sounds at once youthful and wise as she cheerfully delivers a straightforward message: You control your own life, you can choose to heal."-The Wild Honey Pie
"[B]oth meticulously devised and skillfully improvised. It’s one of the most astonishing albums you’ll hear this year, fusing indie-folk with jazz, experimental pop and classical music to stunning effect."-Paste
"All the little details are meticulously thought-out, electronic and orchestral flourishes adding up to more than the sum of their parts, bending and changing the shape of the room with sound.”
"...just brimming with ideas and shifts in instrumentation. While the Montreal-based violinist and songwriter lends a gentle touch at every turn, KIND feels completely unbound to genre or expectation.”
“[A] gloriously skewed beast, the tempo and tone leaping between vivid moments of sparkling pop junctures, all simmering vocals and gently lapping instrumentals, and then disappearing in to a void of white-noise and experimentation, before the clouds clear once again, just long enough to feel warmth emanating through."
- Gold Flake Paint, on Do You Dream?
"Iyer writes songs that flow seamlessly across textures and styles, never staying in one place too long.”
"[E]xperimental art pop, improvisational jazz, orchestral indie rock all mesh with Iyer’s intimate vocals to create a compelling listen. 8.5/10”
"The tracks here have an especially dreamlike, ethereal quality [...] but Iyer’s vocals remain the anchor to the constantly expanding and evolving landscape of sounds.”
-ThrdCoast, on Do You Dream?
"Iyer gives us a soundtrack for our subconscious. A complex labyrinth of sounds that morphs to the uniqueness of an individual’s mind.”
-Gray Owl Point
"Iyer is that atmospheric indie sound I associate with Wes Anderson films: dreamy, evocative of a life I never had with lacy dresses and summer bows and punting on the river at Oxford University."-Montreal Rampage