Arriving over a decade since her first recorded music, Katie Malco’s debut full-length marks a rebirth of sorts. In the seven years since her prior EP, ‘Tearing Ventricles’, Katie has battled self-doubt strong enough to almost call an end to her music career, finding strength on the road with emotionally candid singer-songwriters such as Julien Baker and Jenny Lewis. ‘Failures’ - the album that almost never was - carries the weight of both; brutal and pained in its self-deprecation yet ultimately cathartic.
Much like her Stateside counterparts - rightly drawing comparison to the contemporary poetry of Phoebe Bridgers - Katie embraces both her internal and external struggles in her songwriting. Opener ‘Animal’ sets the tone with an unfiltered look at her relationship to alcohol and the personal events that triggered it, washed over by the driving guitars prominent on much of the record. Elsewhere, ‘Failures’ delves into fleeting friendships, body image, and turbulent relationships, all underpinned by her storied lyrics and emotive vocals.
‘Failures’ builds on an understated confidence in its insecurity, never professing to be the journey’s end. Instead it sees Katie find the conviction to tackle her anxieties head on. Through its own existence it embodies vulnerability, one that can be heard in every resounding riff, gentle guitar pick and piano key. Katie Malco captures the zeitgeist of a generation lost somewhere between opportunity and fear on an album that could never have existed were it not for hesitation, and one that emerges as incredibly poignant for it.