Soulful, confident, and sharp, Kenzie Moore’s Stories is an incredibly promising debut EP. The 22-year-old Chicago native blends the bouncy appeal of pop music flawlessly with the tenderness of classic singer/songwriter music, creating a finished product that is as engaging as it is thoughtful. A clear country influence is evident as well, manifesting itself in the acoustic strains of the EP’s production and the slight twang of Kenzie’s powerful vocals. At some moments uptempo and exhilarating and at others slow and arresting, Stories is a dynamic EP that showcases Kenzie’s stylistic versatility. Despite these contrasts in tone, the project runs with smoothness and cohesion throughout, as the continued presence of punchy percussion and expressive instrumentation tie the tracks together seamlessly.
Kenzie’s tales of heartbreak and nostalgia are delivered with a brilliant mixture of soul-baring honesty and unapologetic sass, two facets of Kenzie’s lyrical persona that balance each other out nicely. The style of the EP’s production adapts itself to these changes in mood as the project unfolds, vacillating between slow, delicate instrumentation and bold, rock-and-roll esque, guitar-driven arrangements. The pacing of the EP is well thought out, as the style never lingers on one particular tone for too long. Slow-burning tracks such as “Stories” are juxtaposed with thrilling, faced-paced ones such as “Eyes Never Lie,” maintaining the listener’s attention and effectively showing off the intricacies and adaptability of Kenzie’s songwriting.
Standout tracks from Stories include the sassy, infectious “You and Her,” the stunning, wistful ballad “Stories” that serves as the project’s namesake, and Kenzie’s stripped-down, country-influenced cover of Aloe Blacc’s “Wake Me Up.” Remarkably polished and tight, Stories is an excellent indicator of Kenzie’s musical capabilities and potential. While Kenzie demonstrates a great lyrical and sonic maturity on her debut project, it will be fascinating to watch her progress in her artistry as she continues to release new music.