Lola Kirke is an actress and musical artist from L.A, and this is her first full-length album, coming a few years after 2016’s EP. Kirke, and in turn Heart Head West, is unashamedly in thrall to American country music and artists such as Gram Parsons.
Opener and single ‘Monster‘ is suitably cinematic, with a wide-shot soundscape covering the open road, driving a goddamn Cadillac on an open highway in goddamn U S of A, in one of those wide-brimmed boho hats that knobs wear, but it’s all damp.
The whole album is eye-stingingly boring and, although it is a detailed and obvious devoted genre tribute to country-lite music, I really don’t know who it’s for.
Occasionally, through songs like ‘Monster‘, Heart Head West nearly conjures up the lackadaisical, studied listlessness of acts like Giant Drag or the twee agreeableness of Sixpence None the Richer. But in terms of exciting pop country, this is no…Sheryl Crow, or whatever. It’s certainly nowhere near Rednex.
That said, the indie-rock hoe-down quasi-Kings of Leon drive of ‘Supposed To‘ is pretty cool, with Kirke singing about expectation and how she “can’t be, so will just do” all the things she’s supposed to and not supposed to, which could be read as a metaphor for her day job as a successful actress. Although still not my thing, it’s a more boisterous instrumental and performance than the main bulk of the album and all the better for it.
The rest of Head Heart West is beige, beige, beige. The songs mainly consist of prodding at what Gwyneth Paltrow’s fanny steaming website GOOP would consider an edgy dinner party country-rawk music soundtrack.
The title track consists of a surely-satirical spoken word paragraph which is probably mad deep if you’re a Hollywood actress or actor, but just made me wince. It’s a manipulated low pitched monster voice talking gibberish.
The bemusingly titled ‘Sexy Song‘ is fairly chaste by comparison to the vigorous and sustained fornication brutally detailed in most other modern pop music these days. The closest Kirke comes to laying that pipe is imploring the object of her desire to come sit next to her, and randisising about doing it in front of a mirror.
This album is inspired by, among other things, owning and exploring elements of female sexuality; i.e. owning and throwing that flange, and so it should be. But this shit is trash and on the basis of this album, I don’t think sex should be legal.
As effective and stirring as a single, American white chocolate button.
Heart Head West is out now on Downtown Records.