Luna Li’s solid debut record shows a wider audience that she should certainly be on your radar
After hitting a stride of virality on the internet in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto-born and raised artist Hannah Bussiere Kim, also known as Luna Li, was launched into a much larger audience than she had ever reached before. This stride of internet clout brought Luna Li’s name into similar circles of artists such as Phoebe Bridgers, beabadoobee, and Japanese Breakfast; the latter of which went on to bring Luna Li on tour as support for a number of performances through America in the summer of 2021.
Though Duality is only her first record, Luna Li’s auditory identity is very self-realized and fleshed out. This is largely in part from her academic background in classical music (specifically string performance), as well as working alongside and being a part of several performing and recording groups in the Toronto music scene for years. Though the moniker Luna Li is new to her, she is more than familiar with her field of work after being so heavily involved in Toronto’s indie rock sphere.
Lush harps, keys, and warm bass lines are found on every track of the record, providing a nice sonic cohesion and groundwork for the album. Kickoff track “Cherry Pit” smashes you in the face with a blast of distorted guitars and boomy drums before disappearing into a bedroom pop soundstage. The track does not waste any time displaying the range of textures you will find across the album’s 41-minute runtime.
Luna Li’s music videos and social media output on the surface exudes a bedroom pop princess-like energy, which is present in her music but in smaller doses than anticipated. Angular guitar solos littered with overdrive and distortion come through a number of tracks on this project, such as “Alone But Not Lonely.” The song kicks off with a sultry Portishead-like string section, contrasted by some sweet vintage casio style keys, capped off with a cute and simple drum machine that sounds like it could be run through the filters and effects section of a Roland SP-404. As she repeats the title of the song about a dozen times in not even two minutes, the song evolves through numerous colours of indie pop and arena rock that comes together in a delightful little package of surprises, without Luna Li biting off more than she can chew.
“Silver into Rain” is yet again more glorious art pop, with a dreamy feature from beabadoobee who in her own right is a scene mainstay for the bedroom popheads. The cut is a recipe for a hit, much in line with the rest of the record keeping you on your toes, unsure of what might be around the next corner.
Luna Li’s distinct palette and twist on the current pop sound, tied with her whimsical songwriting, make for an enjoyable full-length that will surely leave a lasting impression on those who listen. With tours to come and more music down the line, Luna Li has the potential to build a loyal following and garner plenty of excitement and fans.
Score : 7.5/10
Trial track: “Silver Into Rain”