KANGA has had a busy five years, and as soon as her new record, You and I Will Never Die begins, it is apparent that she has continued to evolve in practically every way. The trademark of KANGA’s sound has always been a hybrid of dark pop and industrial, but this time around, the marriage between the two sounds feels much more intentional, as if the artist has finally found her signature recipe. KANGA’s voice is the most prominent instrument on the record, immediately front-and-center on the opening “Preface,” and it sounds better than it has on any previous release – confident and beautiful; as she repeats the refrain of “I’m waiting for it,” one can feel the tension build before it launches immediately into “Home,” followed by “Godless,” on which the production particularly makes room for her voice to shine through, creating the most ‘pop’ track on this album.
The prevailing theme of this album is the idea of beauty within misery and light within darkness, which embodies KANGA’s approach to music in general, shining clearest in “Moscow.” Thematically, it’s a track about a love now lost, and musically, it jumps between bright and shiny verses and a dark, menacing hook; or lyrically on the upbeat EBM-flavored track “Violence,” which contains the lyric “your violence makes me feel so pretty.” In fact, the production of this entire record echoes that vibe – the synths and bass lines alternate between a glossy pop sheen and grimy industrial grooves. This aesthetic is also present down to the album art, showcasing a beautiful, tasteful nude photo of the artist highlighted in red, otherwise surrounded completely by darkness. At the end of the record, this theme is referenced one final time in the last lyric of “Untie”– “I want you so bad, but nobody knows.”
You and I Will Never Die feels like the perfect middle ground between her previous two releases. Her self-titled debut was thick with Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails industrial influence, successful in repeating the catchier elements of what made those records work, while still making it her own. Eternal Daughter stretched her skills as a performer, as she delivered a much more free-form, atmospheric, and intimate release that stood separate from themes she’d established previously. This third record takes the best of both worlds, creating a dark, groovy, and accessible album and an exceptional example of industrial pop, raising her own bar in every way to a level that will be difficult to top.