Named for its mononymous frontman, the L.A based collective features some of the most imaginative and idiosyncratic musicians in indie-rock and pop today, including the project’s co-founder/producer Chris Blood; supporting vocalist Hailey Collier; bassist Elijah Thomson (known for his work with Father John Misty); drummer/percussionist Joey Waronker (Beck, Atoms for Peace, R.E.M.); baritone sax player Jon Natchez (The War on Drugs); trombone player Dave Nelson; keyboardists Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Ben Darwish; string player/arranger Rob Moose (Bon Iver); and violinist/arranger Eric Gorfain. When met with the edifying perspective of Kario’s songwriting, the result is a body of work that distinctly echoes the frenetic energy of the current moment, but ultimately imparts a far more enduring truth about the endless complexities of the human experience.
One of the most immediately magnetic tracks from the forthcoming Audition LP, “Captive” speaks to the collective’s extraordinary capacity to surprise even themselves. “‘Captive’ was never intended to be a love song—let alone a carefree dance song—so much as a riff on a kind of social Stockholm syndrome: the embrace of the captor by the captive as a way of claiming freedom inside captivity,” says Kario, who co-wrote “Captive” with producer Chris Blood. In a prime example of the potent contrast that propels the album, “Captive” twists that sentiment into something euphoric, gloriously ornamented in delirious disco grooves, rapturous harmonies, and lyrics that deftly belie a sense of ruinous desperation (“You can lock me in your future/And throw away the key”).