Many indie rock musicians claim to be multi-hyphenates: producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist. Yet Madeline Kenney might be the genre’s only qualified neuroscientist and professional baker on top of her musical exploits. Her debut album, produced by the equally busy Chaz “Toro Y Moi” Bundick, shows a restlessly inquisitive mind at work, feeling out genres and sounds for the album’s thirty-minute runtime. Although ‘Night Night at the First Landing’ is bookended by post-‘Blonde’ interludes ‘Don’t Forget // There’s Room’ and ‘Give Up // On Anything’ – all spoken word samples, stacked vocal harmonies and atmospheric, barely-there drum patterns – everything in between is woozy, deconstructed fuzzy pop.
The nonchalantly bratty lead single ‘Rita’ comes on like Beach House with a Big Muff pedal, while there are shades of Mitski in Kenney’s deadpan lyrical humour: “My other car is your face,” she demurs on Yo La Tengo-esque highlight ‘Big One’, “It drives me wild.” Tracks like ‘Uncommon’ may get a little too vague for their own good, but Kenney’s ‘First Landing’ is still a compelling, curious debut.