KELSEY LU

 

North Carolina-born cellist and vocalist Kelsey Lu recorded her debut EP live at a church in Brooklyn with a loop pedal, and it’s one of the most startling and evocative pieces of music you’ll hear all year. Lu was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and fled home at 18 to escape her strict upbringing, so her choice of location, the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Family, is in a way a subverted act of rebellion. A suite of songs that push and pummel gospel music into experimental new places, the album opens with ‘Dreams’ – Lu’s voice as thick as molasses as it slides up and down the scale, quavering and punctuating the stillness with decorative trills – glides through ‘Time’ with her falsetto in tow, before ending on the plaintive ‘Visions of Old’. Her instruments may trade stages on occasion, but mostly they are symbiotic: an extension of Kelsey Lu, an extension of herself and everything she has been – and no doubt still wants to become.