Kennedy dresses up her dramatic songs in quirky layers. They recall the oddball pop of Tune-Yards and the playful wordplay of The Moldy Peaches. "Dizzy Izzy," for example, is a tongue-twister of rhymes—about "lazy Lizzy" and "Alice in the palace," asking a "yellow helicopter to take me to the mental doctor"—with driving strings in front of a bouncy Jew's harp.
Her voice is warped with effects throughout the record. She swings between Shirley Bassey-style theatrics ("Kimono Hill"), soulful sugariness ("Foam") and plaintive echoes of St. Vincent ("Baltimore"). It's an album with a rich variety of acoustic and electronic sounds: there are crisp pianos, robot-voiced chorales and synth serenades. But the lyrics about "lovely sugar bunnies," "snails that have been operated on" and "dogs on logs with anxiety" start feeling a bit daft. It's as though she wants her words to be something her voice can play around with. That's not necessarily bad—it worked nicely for Ivor Cutler and the Cocteau Twins—but it begins to grate over the course of 11 tracks.
Whether you fall in love with Sophia Kennedy probably depends on where you draw the line between playful and kitsch. Kennedy's theatrical ballads and textured instrumentation, while often engaging, can sometimes seem a little too busy. But Sophia Kennedy is a colourful album from an artist with a fertile mind and a strong voice.