Cleansed of unnecessary baggage, Compulsion finds Kim Gray performing with the focus of a Shaolin Monk. He's fanned the garage fumes that led his first act, The Skinny Kids, to a cult Canadian following and cleared the air with a stronger, yet more subtle sound. A metamorphosis that began to shape on last 2016's Perfume, released on L.A.'s Lollipop Records, Compulsion exhibits Kim's artistry in full bloom as he perfects a pungent, new breed of bedroom pop.
Recorded on a Tascam 388, the album captures the low budget weirdness of pioneers like R. Stevie Moore and funnels it through a formula worthy of Motown's hit parade. Yet, there's no ubiquitous glue tying together Compulsion's sound, as Kim prefers a continuity that resides in pop's outer limits. Seemingly possessed by the same obsessive forces that drove Joe Meek, the band spent 16-hour days meticulously layering Kim's initial ideas while isolated in a shack behind east Vancouver's chic psych-pub, The Lido. VHS copies of old Westerns grounded the process in a heroic encampment as the band filled Compulsion's ever-expanding terrain with effects salvaged from the semi-functional equipment lining the walls of the makeshift studio.
Folding vintage radios and toyish Casio soundbanks into live studio-quality compositions might sound like the wet teenage dream of Flying Lotus after too much Tago Mago, but Bad Diet bet you our Bitcoin reserves that Compulsion holds its weight in dream currency. "Peroxide Blondes" shimmers with the mysticism of a midnight Michael McDonald serenade summoning the spirit of Bobby Fuller while the relaxed vibe of "What's In A Smile" recalls a rum-induced impromptu beach session between Tom Ze and Kenny Loggins.
Compulsion flows like a composite of uninterrupted REM sleep, but IRL, it follows Kim Gray on a path that confronts his loneliness and modern struggles. If you are searching for peace inside sex, drugs, memes, eating, money, television or internet dating, let Kim be your guide to happiness.