One thing that can be said about New York residing singer Kendra Morris is that she has an eclectic ear. Citing Donny Hathaway and Sam Cooke as influences, Morris has a beautiful way of bridging the gap between the form of soul laid out by the above with her own blue-eyed soul style.
The Wax Poetics Record signee set things rolling in 2011 with her single “Concrete Waves,” exploring the uncertainty and waves within relationships, which was met with the stamp of approval from legendary producer DJ Premier with his remix of the song. Morris kept the momentum going with the follow-up singles “If You Didn’t Go,” and “Splitting Teeth,” which continued exploring the relationship dynamics.
With Banshee, Morris explores similar topics but breaks new ground. Lyrically, listeners are introduced throughout the album to things that inspire Morris to write—relationships. The various stages of relationships run rampant throughout the album through metaphors with “Concrete Waves,” as well as blatant forms with “Here.” That’s part of the appeal with the album; Morris sings and says things that people may think in their head but more than likely would be a little hesitant verbalizing.
Banshee opens with “Waiting,” which incorporates an interesting jazz-like vibe and timeless lyrics made current with Morris’ vocal performance, before Morris’ dreamy reflective ballad about an ended relationship as Morris sings on “If You Didn’t Go,” Now that you’re a stranger two thousand miles from here/ I imagine you the blanket, my atmosphere/ Even though the girl you got is a nice one it’s true/ She’ll never be what I have to give if I still had you.
The production palette on “Right Now” is flawless. In a song that speaks about leaving someone wondering where the relationship went wrong, the production adds to the dramatic feelings that would go hand-in-hand; “Here” is drenched with soul, with minimal production that builds around the chorus as Morris gives a vulnerable and beautiful vocal performance begging the question to her lover, “Why Can’t You Be Here?”
A strong, versatile debut album from Kendris Morris, the variety of influences on Banshee make for a dreamy, classically soulful soundscape.