Vana Mundi is the latest album by Kleenex Girl Wonder who have apparently been around for 20 years or so and put out 18 albums but have previously passed me by somehow. This album should have made it onto my turntable a lot sooner than it has but better late than never.
Vana Mundi apparently translates from Latin as Empty World and from Esperanto as Vain World both of which give good hints as to the lyrical content of this album of Indie pop songs.
The album opens with Practical Effects that is a good wordy song with the vocals almost delivered as if the bands singer Graham Smith's talking to you to explain what's gone wrong and how he has to stay up late to stay safe from whoever it is that is either stalking him or worse.
Greek Fire is a Greek tragedy set to semi acoustic guitars as love has certainly gone wrong again as the almost rapped vocals try to figure out if he should walk now or stay for a little more tragedy or fire in his life.
For anyone who isn't aware of what Tratteggio is, it is the art of Retouch invention to replace parts of an artefact that doesn't make sense until it is retouched which makes this slacker love song, that asks if he should have someone back or not, as Graham lists some of the things that went wrong first time round, he makes us wonder what needs touching up and replacing, isn't never made totally clear but life's like that and the guitars that come in towards the end are really cool.
Sounds Good is another song about love going wrong and the gently strummed acoustic guitars slowly build as more questions get asks for more consistency from his paramour. Sexy Legitimate threat is a great song title and a very cool acoustic love song about having to stay in on Halloween and the fears he has for what's going wrong in his life while he wonders about someone he considers a Sexy Legitimate Threat, this a very cool and slightly sparse song that reminds me of Clem Snide quite a bit.
Once you flip the vinyl and put the B-side on it opens with The Mesomorph a more muscular song about his tears for what has again gone wrong as he confesses his all over some quite poppy slacker indie that's as wordy as anything on this coolly verbose album.
Impossible Shadow starts with some Banjo or is it Mandolin as the emotional hurt unfolds once more, by this point it almost seems clear the root of his problems is never shutting up, but of course that's what makes this album cool, and like much of the album will take a few listens to really get inside what Graham is going on about.
Ask Mountain doesn't re-work Go Tell It To The Mountain sadly but is a full on list of the hopes and desires he has for the object of his desires that has some really cool guitar work going on almost buried beneath the vocals as he begs and pleads for what he wants.
Sunday Night Fever is the inquest into an inevitably messy Saturday night and the argument that unfolds as he asks or implies that she cheated on him and did him wrong in multiple other ways like an update of any number of dark blues songs from the 30's and 40's that cover similar subject matter.
The album closes with Picture The Kid which is like one last plea for redemption and a way to get over the betrayal and move on and forwards and sounds like a perfect indie pop drama that leaves me wanting to hear some more from Kleenex Girl Wonder.
Find out more at https://kgw.me/ where you can get this and all the bands other 18 albums.