Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Kiey’s sophomore album Sunday Sanctuary is a far cry from 2019’s ‘Night to Myself’. Kiey has shifted thematically to a sound that’s brighter, vibrant and euphoric with these 12 tracks. From the angelic tones of the title track, ‘Sunday Sanctuary’ to beefy pop belters like, ‘See It Through’, Kiey’s sound is more varied than ever without sounding like it has lost anything that it gained before; the vocals still enchant with dark, conversational melodies at times and the harmonies still take you on an acid trip of flange. The album is bursting with energy, life, and class. If you’re looking for something new and profound in the indie/electro-pop space. You’ve found it.
Every song on the album feels exploratory, with emotions, problems and joys all clashing together to give us one perfect glimpse into what Kiey is all about, personality. ‘Right When the Sun Rises’ heads us off and prepares us for the sparkling pop album that is to come. It showcases some gritty synth-pop instrumentals and high, breathy vocals that shine through the thick. Although you will most definitely feel movement in the song, it isn’t drowned out with unnecessary sub-bass blowouts as many dance albums can be, this is a theme across the whole album. You can hear it in ‘Light of Dawn’ as the bass opens the song, but leaves room for the vocals to thrive. The track is a classic pop song pushed through Kiey’s musical blender, it comes out textural, tonal and totally magical.
What will stand out is Kiey’s standout vocal style. It's unearthly, hitting highs and settling into lower registers on a dime, creating a strong contrast within the album as well as individual songs. ‘Insomnia’ is a brilliant example of the vocal craft that Kiey displays in his work, with high harmonies overlapping heartier tones to create a silken choir. The song is wonderfully complex and is a real earworm, just like ‘Visualise’ it has beautiful electric tones and lyrics that pull you along for the ride.
Kiey nails the electro-pop indie sound, writing lyrics that click and instrumentals that are tight and diverse, leaving you completely at home from the get-go. Something that Sunday Sanctuary perfectly symbolises is that feeling of instant relaxation and belonging but to do that for pop for 12 songs would get rather boring. However, boring is definitely not Kiey’s style. He hits hard and fresh with songs like, ‘Summer Fire’, ‘High’ and my personal favourite on the whole album, ‘Make Me Insane’; introducing new instruments to the electro-pop genre and bringing back hard-working jazz tones he adds a whole other layer of musical understanding and expertise to Sunday Sanctuary, moving Kiey from ‘simple pop star’ - to - ‘musical legend’. Subtle pitch shifts in ‘Sundrift’; the gut-wrenching hook that pulls you onto any dance floor in ‘Paradise’ and the intimate sounds and textures in ‘Finally Happy’ prove not only that Kiey is here and is here to stay, but also that you most definitely need to listen to Sunday Sanctuary yourself.
If you listen hard you will find jewels of production magic, working rain splashes, waves and even cat sounds into these well-rounded, fizzy pop tunes. I usually say in my reviews that there’s at least one song on the album for anyone. Sunday Sanctuary however deserves to be devoured whole and in one sitting. Take a walk, plunge into nature or pile up with blankets and pillows, however you do it, you will not regret it.