This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Check out previous entries in the series here.
2020 has been a year of polarity. It does not take much to see the many issues society has frustratingly split down the middle, but Denver’s own Kayla Marque’s Brain Chemistry is here to help join opposite forces for good. The singer-songwriter’s newest project sets out to showcase her progress and growth.
“If people take anything from this album, it’s [about] processing through things,” explained Marque. “If you are experiencing depression and anxiety, which everyone does, that’s ok. It is about getting the tools to manage them. I’m at that point now where I can better manage my anxieties and fears because I do have a lot of them.”
Right Brain is a five-song EP that is the first release of her Brain Chemistry project. Left Brain has yet to drop, but both alt-pop EPs are named to show off the different sides of Marque’s journey and artistic expression. “I feel that people get caught up in being one dimensional and putting themselves and others in a box,” the singer expanded. “We are all multi-dimensional — we have many layers.”
“Right Brain is where I got to after I was able to process my pain and trauma,” she continued. “Left Brain is showing the process, so it’s a darker space — that’s in the tone of the music, the lyrics, the content. It’s still a cohesive sound in the way that we are still using the intergalactic, tabs and synth. It’s still dreamy, but I guess more nightmarish. Right Brain is heaven and Left Brain is if heaven had a hell.
This year more so than others has been a test to us all on trauma and processing. Marque — who also works with the organization Art From Ashes, has always had an interest in psychology. After realizing she communicated best through music and gaining a new therapist around the time she started recording this album, she knew the theme she wanted to take on for this release. Of course, the tour and usual approach to promoting Right Brain took a backseat this year due to COVID-19, but Marque took her aforementioned tools and adjusted in a healthy way to the changes.
“At this point, I am choosing not to view them as restrictions, which has made a lot of difference,” the songwriter explained. “When things started shutting down, I lost all my gigs. The bright side of it, and what I really took away from that is that I got to slow down and take a break. I have been playing shows for 10 years. This break has carved out a lot of space for me to reset and rebuild and reimagine what I want my life to look like and how I want to deliver my art to the people.”
Right Brain also revealed how far Marque has come since her last album, Live and Die Like This. Her growth and security as an artist shine through in the songs. Looking forward, Left Brain will be another exciting step forward for her to exhibit here out of the box artistry. “The more comfortable I got, the more I was able to let go of a lot of fears and expectations and just play. It’s been a really good experience because I have not had that before.”