Review Courtesy Of Emily Smith
Kissy Fleur is a new artist on the scene at age 21, hailing from Sydney, Australia. She is a songwriter, harpist, and producer and has just released her debut single “Conversations with Past Lovers.”
Now she’s released her debut album Ripened Fruit, a dreamy lo-fi album set to the dark story of a girl who was sexually assaulted at age 15. The album opens with the sound of birds chirping and a simple whistled melody on the track “Little Girl,” later to be accompanied with enchanting harps and a variety of string instruments. This track sounds like a dizzying reprise that would be expected towards the end of the album, but instead sets the tone of the story.
The vibe of this album is both gloomy and eerie. Fleur sings of a man with no name – one who exists as an entity that preys on girls, as explained in the lyrics in “Hope is a Hungry Stomach,” “He’s been preying on the girls like me/ he’s done this all before.” She leads the tracks with her distinct, echoing vocals layered upon one another, which closely complement the instrumentation and add to the dark theme of the album.
Fleur describes the trauma of sexual assault through an abundance of nature imagery starting with the title of the album. The image of a garden path represents the location where the assault occurred in tracks like “Hope is a Hungry Stomach” and “The Garden Way,” where she repeats the words of the man who assaulted the girl: “Girl I’m gonna make you understand that I’m a man.” Nearly every instance of seeing this man throughout the album happens on this garden path. Fleur also references fruit in her songs such as on tracks like “Sedated (Forbidden Fruit)” and “Tic Tac Toe,” in which she describes the man “peeling” off a girl’s skirt, as if he is peeling off the skin of fruit or on “Little Girl,” with the lyrics “Ripened fruit, just take a bite/ a victim of his appetite.”
Women and youth are depicted as flowers often throughout the album. Fleur sings of flowers that are “picked too soon” in “Little Girl.” In the interlude “Look Inside,” the girls preyed upon by the man have flowers inside them that “rot beneath their bones.” The theme of nature carries on throughout the entire album, and is an effective choice in describing the intricacies of the main theme of the album.
The album is a flowing story, each track bleeding into the next one with the instrumentation acting as the bridge between tracks. The three interludes (“Where Are You Going Darling,” “Look Inside,” and “You Are Falling Down”) also add to the cohesiveness of the album. At times, it is unclear where one track ends and another begins, since the instrumentation blends in so well from track to track. In a sense, this could act as both a strength and a weak point of the album, since very few tracks are distinct on their own.
The album, with its themes of sexual assault and hurt, offer some hauntingly dark tracks. “Tic Tac Toe” is one of the darker songs on the album. There are eerie, dissonant keyboards playing throughout the song that are especially dark. This track acts almost as a warning to the man, as Fleur calls him out on his insecurities and his desire to connect with women. She repeats throughout the track, “There is no truth in the lust you feel.” In the background, there are also faint screams that repeat during small intervals of the song.
The final track, “Two Teaspoons of Trouble,” is especially interesting. While the previous tracks establish who the man is and the feelings of the girl who was assaulted, a description of the assault is not present until now. There are images of the man’s ribs up against the girl’s shirt and bruised knees, and Fleur sings about “Three minutes for months of misery,” distinctly referencing the assault. The vocals are noticeably more prominent here. In other tracks, the vocals are more entwined with the instrumentation, blending into each other at many points throughout the album. “Two Teaspoons of Trouble” offers no resolution, and is certainly not an anthem of self-love. There are no anthems of self-love or healing on this album; there is only hurt, and it remains that way from front to back.
Overall, the album has many layers of meaning to take away from it, and a depth that is only enhanced with the rich instrumentation that wraps itself within the vocals. It is certainly a memorable album overall, though the individual tracks may not always stand out from each other. Listen to the album here.
Follow Kissy Fleur