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.
There are two sides to all great art, this is especially true for Denver’s alternative pop queen — Kayla Marque, and her long-awaited album, Brain Chemistry. Released in two parts, Brain Chemistry began with Right Brain, released earlier this year, and ends with the recently released Left Brain. Together, the two EPs reflect years of work from the artist and shine a spotlight straight into the eyes of the writer, singer and person she has become.
The order of the release was not an accident, Marque wanted her fans to experience her lighter and more experimental side with Right Brain so that they could appreciate the polarity if Left Brain.
“Left Brain is showing the process, so it’s a darker space that’s in the tone of the music, the lyrics, the content,” said Marque. “It’s a cohesive sound in the way that we are still using the intergalactic tabs and synth. It’s still dreamy, but more nightmarish — Right Brain is heaven and Left Brain is if Heaven had a Hell.”
Right Brain dropped with a series of stunning visuals, and Left Brain is proving to be no different. The project’s first track “Villian” comes with a bewitching video casting herself as the villain, but one with complex humanity. This juxtaposition speaks to the desire for Marque to show her supporters different energy through this project. Through an artist statement posted to her Facebook page, the musician expressed that in the release of Left Brain, she found she was attempting to ease us into the new darkness.
“This is the [most real] thing I have made, and it came from the wildest and most beautifully dangerous parts of me. It is time I show the whole picture, and all pictures must have shadows — without shadows, there is no light.”
Marque clarified that while making the video that accompanied “Villain” was fun, seeing the end result not only scared her but the director as well. “I struggled with the release of this album and video,” she confided. “Now that it is out and I’ve faced it, people are telling me how much they relate to it and I feel a weight lifted off my chest.”
Left Brain helped Marque view facing her traumas as a blessing. From leaving behind unhealthy habits and processing the death of her father sober, Marque has used her pain to grow. “I learned how strong I actually am. I was able to put all of these tools in my toolbox,” she explained. “Now I can manage my life a little better. Life is hard and it’s unpredictable, but to be able to know that I can deal with whatever will come my way is the most valuable thing I have taken away from this project.”
Marque has solidified herself as a mainstay in our local scene, and Brain Chemistry is a strong conveyance of where the last five years of her growth has brought her. Now that she has shown both sides, there are no limits to where she can take us next.
Stream Left Brain below: