Kaela is the new shorter artist name for LA-based musician Kaela Sinclair. The experienced songwriter and producer, who is part of the synth-heavy French band M83, frequently fuses experimental and atmospheric styles in her work. Her songs are bold, self-loathing, and gentle and they invite us all, in her own words, to transcend. Her latest single “Spiral” is no exception.
Kaela’s diverse musical aesthetic is most likely influenced by her varied musical background which centers around jazz and classical music. Her previous EP’s Half Asleep (2018) and We Watched the Lights Go Out (2017) hone in on the cinematic tendencies of these specific genres. However, these influences make more unique impressions in her latest single which takes a path less traveled to arrive at a sound that is nostalgic and deeply introspective.
“Spiral” brims with retro synths, DIY pop sensibilities, and Kaela’s signature experimental production style. The track opens patiently with a gradual build-up of synth and rhythmic textures before Kaela’s reverberated vocals cushion into their atmospheric surroundings beautifully. The opening lyrics, “Oh you’re so funny when you hit that line / When you call me at night just to say you’re mine,” provide a sarcastic opening to the otherwise lyrically grief laden track.
Written four months after the end of a relationship, “Spiral” is about grief that keeps coming back – the type that can hit you in waves. In the track, Kaela crafts lyrics that latch onto the varying emotions of grief such as confusion and anger. Lines such as, “Grief like a spiral I’m like a child / Falling and getting up / Swimming in dream matter,” embody the more confusing perspectives of such situations. Yet, other lines such as, “Cus I would do it again / But it wouldn’t be the same thing / Won’t be fucking your friend,” highlight how emotions can quickly switch to angrier tones when experiencing grief.
Concluding with a synth solo and a stripped back outro, this track may be pop-like in structure and lyrical content, but its soundscape is much broader. “Spiral” takes you into an inner world of looping, layered vocals, and strangely exotic musical textures that feel both distinctive and cathartic.