The Austin Chronicle

Kris Mckay

July 12, 1996, Music

Things That Show (Shanachie)

Kris McKay is something to behold. She's shiny. It's in her voice, songs, and soul. She has a unique, rock-solid confidence that not only transcends the mortal coil, but could obliterate all evidence of its previous existence if it so chose. But it doesn't. McKay is no small fan of human foibles and triumphs. She revels in love won, love lost, love that could have been, anger, deceit, revenge and the rest of volume one of The Encyclopedia of Human Emotions. Things That Show is just that and deeper. McKay is simultaneously soul mining and frolicking in the fields of the lord. On top of an emotional tempest of catastrophic proportions, her incredible pipes slide in and out of pop tones with a demure bravura akin to a silky Milana strut. She's got it and can afford to be a coy exhibitionist. Yet she never condescends to audience or material. The seven covers here -- including remarkable versions of English Beat's "Sooner or Later" and Matthew Sweet's "How Cool" -- are reflections of McKay's attitude and not attempts at hipster homage or one-upping. McKay's four originals weave themselves in effortlessly, leaving a seamless fabric of McKay's celebration of life and living, while yielding the rarest form of statement on the human condition: One that does not judge.
4 stars -- Joe Mitchell

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