Snap Sounds: Carletta Sue Kay

Pub date June 8, 2012

Carletta Sue Kay
(Kitten Charmer)

Carletta Sue Kay is the female alter-ego of SF musician Randy Walker, and this identity shift pushes his art in some astonishing directions. (Walker’s previous band Mon Cousin Belge was notorious for its onstage performance art antics). Androgynous to its core, and loaded with overtones, his vocal delivery as Carletta Sue Kay can recall Annie Lennox, Gene Ween, and Joanna Newsom, all in the same breath. Normally, a voice this powerful is cultivated over years of recording, so it’s hard to believe that Incongruent is this former Amoeba employee’s debut full-length.

While the album certainly has its moments (namely the Pete Townshend homage “Joy Division”, and the floaty jazziness of “For the Birds”) Walker’s voice sets an impossibly high standard for the music to live up to. “Just Another Beautiful Boy” leans a bit heavily on rock-meets-showtunes schtick, and “Sloppy Kisses” flaunts its tweeness to the point of contrivance. But overall, Incongruent marks the emergence of an artist with serious potential. Equally commanding and vulnerable, Walker’s voice is sure to devastate anyone who gives it a chance.