Less an indie-rock excursion than an exercise in subdued intimacy and chill-wave cruise control, Konnor Ervin’s latest opus, Koney, deftly employs spacey atmospheres and slinky melodies to conjure a hazy brand of soft-pop magic.
Since the middle of the 2000’s, the Kansas native Konnor Ervin aka Koney has established a discrete indie-pop style and a solid track record as a member of both ACBS and Shy Boys. His new, self-titled and finely woven solo project recalls the blissfully reclined work of Matt Mondanile’s Real Estate offshoot Ducktails and frequently invokes a stripped-down, homespun Tame Impala, yet it exudes its own soft-focus effervescence and cumulative power.
There’s a plethora of poolside, ambient vibes on the hushed and tactile synth lullabies presented here: twinkling and sparkling guitars mesh with beautifully applied coatings of synth and keyboards to sculpt a luminous sound-world which leans on a distinctly ‘less is more’ aesthetic. The drowsy, hypnagogic style displays an assured penchant for amalgamating bits from different sounds and genres whilst tinkering with glinting, loose-limbed and sun-warmed chords and nailing pensive, summer-at-dusk moods.
The woozy Combos commences proceedings and induces wistful hankering with its slithery bass, swell of Rhodes keyboards and loping, pitter-patter percussion. The bouncy Buds soothes, lulls and stirs in equal measure with its sugary, Beatles/Beach Boysesque harmonies and Sue 2 is airy, gossamer-like ambient pop, whilst Cowboys drops a pedal steel guitar riff into the yacht-soul mix. The honeyed textures of Know represent Koney as a natural heir to Kevin Parker, with laser-beam analogue synths and gilded psych vocals spinning outwards.
Whilst there’s nothing here that could be described as a ‘banger’, Koney swims in a slipstream of quietly languorous psychedelia and manages to intimate optimism and a light at the end of the tunnel. Naysayers might point to a lack of bite, with many songs building to something before dissolving quickly or petering out before full fruition. Koney radiates serious songwriter chops whilst nestling on cruise control: nothing here could be viewed as essential but its breezy intimacy renders it more than the sum of its parts.