‘Seventeen’ is led by a hooky QOTSA-esque riff, which drives this fuzzy anthem that sits somewhere between 90s heavyweights Rival Schools and Failure. It explores one of life’s most complicated ages. Not quite yet an adult, but impatient to be treated like one; navigating an avalanche of new experiences and urgent emotions, dismissed by adults as “teenage angst” or “just a phase”. An exhausting quest to negotiate a new space, juggling the interests of parents, teachers and friends while not knowing to question their motives.
This song is an excavation, a letting-go, an act of self-forgiveness. Traumatic events from the past can feel just as fresh, years later, the ghosts of our former selves creeping up to tap us on the shoulder with icy fingers. Sometimes we need to package up our memories with tidy words to dispel the haunting. Sometimes we just need to stop blaming ourselves.
Speaking about the song, Laura explained, “Sometimes writing songs is like painstakingly sculpting sounds from thin air; other times they arrive in a whoosh, fighting to be heard. ‘Seventeen’ appeared on a summer Saturday evening, falling out of me in jagged swathes. Facing up to our ghosts isn’t a pleasant experience, but this song helped me over a major stumbling block from my past, bringing me a fresh perspective and a new freedom.”
Exotic Monsters builds on Kidd's accomplished ear for melody and ambitious production style, marrying disparate influences from Tanya Donelly, Juliana Hatfield and Nevermind-era Nirvana to the gritty tension of Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer and synth soundscapes of Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears and Sylvan Esso.
Written and recorded in solitary confinement during the drawn-out, tumultuous Brexit nightmare and well on into the Covid-19 pandemic, Exotic Monsters mirrors our dystopian world, posing questions and offering comfort, hope and a friendly shoulder to lean on.
Drawing more from her wide-ranging reading list than her favourite bands, Laura deals with the gruelling emotional matters of 21st-century life with honesty, grace and warmth, referencing Ursula Le Guin, Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood and Mark Westmoquette along the way.
The release of ‘Seventeen’ follows the recent dark and expansive single ‘Black Car’, the upbeat yet eerie ‘Cancel Your Hopes’ and the release of the albums title track earlier this year, which comes with the brilliant and unsettling video, which premiered with Clash who called the track “a wonderfully off piste pop song,” whilst Classic Pop hailed it “…[a] moody slice of synth-pop.”
It follows 2020’s release of the sincere and hopeful ‘The Only Way Out Is Through’ and ‘Everything Looks Normal In The Sunshine’, which is an explosive sugary pop banger that recalls the heady strut of Dream Wife and Dinosaur Pile Up whilst nodding quietly to the Blue Album-era of Weezer.
Laura is also behind the Attention Engineer podcast, which aims to address how in a noisy online world, the gift of someone’s attention is priceless. In each episode she has deep conversations with artists she admires about how they balance online and offline life, tour and family, creative introspection and happiness.
It has had acclaim from the Guardian stating that Kidd, “talks with insight and warmth to (mostly) other musicians.” Guests so far have included Tanya Donelly (Belly), Frank Turner, Rebecca Lucy Taylor (Self Esteem), Corin Tucker (Sleater Kinney), J Wilgoose Esq (Public Service Broadcasting) and Lemn Sissay MBE, Liz Stokes (The Beths) and many more and shot to #10 in the Apple Podcasts top music shows in the first three days.