Kali Masi are set to release their Sophomore album [laughs] on March 26, 2021 via Take This To Heart Records. [laughs] is a high-energy, lyrically poignant album that is cathartic in its self-reflective perspective. Throughout the effort, Kali Masi takes on heavy-hitting subjects like abusive relationships, friends who are lost too soon and identifying when a relationship has run its healthy course.
Intro track “Still Life” sets a forlorn tone as the lyrics explore emotions surrounding the loss of a good friend. From grief to anger to determined resolve in addressing mental health struggles, this song promises strength in community and affirms that those struggling are “never alone if there’s two hearts beating” in the world. A running theme throughout the album is the work it takes to heal and grow from abusive relationships and these ideas are found and expanded upon in hard-hitting tracks “Guilt Like a Gun,” “Trophy Deer,” “Recurring (I)” and “The Stray.” Of these songs, the pop-leaning “Trophy Deer” and blues-influenced “Recurring (I)” seem to really stick out to me because of the choice to stray into genre-bending territory that may not fall neatly into punk rock. These genre-wandering songs have stuck with me from the first playthrough and allow the listener a refreshing sample of Kali Masi’s breadth of talent and creativity.
The song “Freer” takes a stripped-back, nostalgic look at the youthful “sweetness not yet soured” by responsibilities and “rent that we now owe” of adulthood, while “Paint Me Jade” looks ahead to the future and contemplates the consequences of growing older. These are two shining examples of the band’s outstanding lyrical retrospective reflection found throughout [laughs]. The album concludes with “The Stray” is a heavy-hitting punk track that laments the cyclical state of emotional manipulation and destructive dependencies which it perpetuates, and then closes on a big-energy and exasperated emotional high.
Kali Masi’s particular blend of punk rock is emphasized throughout [laughs] as the album employs driving tempos, kinetic instrumental elements and demonstrates the band’s exceptional craftsmanship of lyricism that packs incredible emotional depth into each song.