Singer songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Ky Vöss released their sophomore album Coping Mechanisms in 2020, and I must say – this album’s sound is pristine. The kind of synthpop that feels lush and refined to shiny perfection. Produced with a craftsmanship that elevates it amongst others of its peers into a premium product — like a finely crafted marble statue or say, an apple product. That’s not to say that this record is posh or only for the bourgeoisie in it’s pretense — on the contrary, the dark overtones of its lyrics makes it all feel relatable — there’s just an air about Coping Mechanisms’ production quality that makes it feel more premium and ahead of its time. If pop is considered the fast food of music, then this album was made with Wagyu beef.
Say for example, the opener “Thank You, Sorry”, with its synths that shine and glow with a cool fluorescent sheen. Each element carefully stitched together to make the perfect pop song. With melodies that evoke Madonna or Kylie Minogue in the 90’s, all with a depth and undercurrent that’s a lot darker than its sunny disposition would make you believe.
And here is where the brilliance of this album comes to light. Coping Mechanisms may sound like bubblegum pop or mainstream dance music, but underneath it’s anything but. Ky Vöss lays down her deep dark experiences and insights in the lyrics of these songs. “Catch Yourself” does this with its lavish and dreamy soundscape which may make you miss the perils of addiction that its lyrics allude to. With imagery that delves on body horror to illustrate the pain of substance abuse, Vöss uses her music to express her pain while presenting an entertaining pop tune for the audience. Which leaves the listener free to engage the material as deeply as they so desire, be it for an entertaining afternoon listen or something to deeply empathize and connect with.
Other highlights in this album include the single “Masochism”, wherein Vöss sings about her self-destructive tendencies when it comes to love over luminous beats and melodies. “Combat” is an industrial house song that’s both dancy and alluring, featuring sharp and violent themes. The album closes with “Manage” which perfectly echoes life in the pandemic, where each one of us strives for ways to cope with the many hardships we face..
Coping Mechanisms is a great step up for pop. If you’re looking for something more refined and gourmet for your evening listen. Give this one a go.