[Album Review] Language Arts- Wonderkind
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by Tiana Feng


Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Label: Maple Music Recordings

Language Arts, the musical project of Kristen Cudmore followed up 2009’s Where Were You In The Wild? this year with Wonderkind.

Cudmore remains an eclectic songwriter with Wonderkind being more than generic indie-rock. Her non-conventional vocal styles is the star here, but the band also impresses with different sonic arrangements instrumental-wise. The most noteable change is that Cudmore’s classical guitar-work is no longer a big part of the album, though it does make appearances occasionally (“Hot Air Balloon”). The clean production is to the credit of Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case & Sarah McLachlan).

On Bandcamp, “Wonderkind” is described as:
1.A feeling of surprise caused by a person, persons or things holding characteristics of beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable traits.

2. A curiosity or sense of caution or suspicion due to the benevolent disposition of a person.

On the album, it touches on both these definitions, lyrically and sonically. The title track “Wonderkind” takes you through a beautiful twist around different corners, particularly beautiful the violin and cello. “Old Familiar” also has a lovely buildup that includes strings and piano. When you think you’re going to get a regular rock track which the beginning of  “What If It Were To Be Reworked?” has you believe, Cudmore breaks into a rap. The song structure on Wonderkind tends to avoid voice/chorus structure. This keeps the album adventurous and interesting but also its greatest short-fall. It’s hard to find one of the songs “memorable”, or have your ears crave returning to it.