So, what’s a guy to do? The press release describes an album as being musical snapshots in the life of a serial killer and makes no mention whatsoever of normal key selling points such as kittens, self-discovery or the spiritual importance of vegetables. Listen or not? Yes, for “The Beauty Shop” is an example of the oft forgotten genre known as the concept album with a generous seasoning of the desire to be different and Kristeen Young goes sufficiently theatrical to make it all rather interesting.
And theatrical this album indeed is. The simplicity of the three minute pop song is displaced, nay abandoned, and replaced with angular but hand crafted representations of inner torment that would fit neatly on to any off Broadway type stage in the grimy back streets of any big city. The ghost of the machine looms large in the music contained in these eight songs to reinforce, no doubt, the recurring theme of control that skews these songs into the realm of the unconventional. Neither is this is a journey into art house introspection for, in the best traditions of those living in the shadow of the spotlight, Kristeen Young always aims her message outwards.
As an artistic statement, the value of “The Beauty Shop” is clear to see. Big city festival audiences will no doubt worship the album and connoisseurs of the eccentric will likewise see the value in Kristeen Young’s determinedly individualistic approach. Idiosyncratic – almost to a fault – “The Beauty Shop” is the kind of album that is an antithesis to the mainstream and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this were to become something of a cult album. It’s not just for serial killers.
Available from Bandcamp and the usual digital sources.
Best song: the oblique “Sara Get The Baby.”