‘In my mind, the Transfiguration Highway is a road that runs from my hometown of Petrolia, through the small southern Ontario towns I grew up in, through to larger and larger Ontario cities, like London, until it reaches me here in Toronto. Along that path, there’s a movement from quiet to loud. From slow to fast. From God to godlessness. From unique and charming houses to mundane condos. The path then stretches on to the north and to the east to Marmora, a place I’ve never visited but one that I’ve become entranced by. I’ve come to view it as some kind of beckoning light further down the highway…’
Kenny Boothby of Little Kid is inspired by the idea of transfiguration and this is the backbone of his band’s new album, ‘Transfiguration Highway’. It finds him and his bandmates contemplating both spiritual and lived revelation and change with a particular focus on Christian mysticism.
Appropriately enough, the record opens with ‘I Thought You’d Been Raptured’, a harmonica-laden slice of blissed-out acoustic folk with observations earning a living and how to avoid being a sinner: ‘I didn’t smoke when you were pregnant’. The dark and swirling piano sound of ‘What’s in a Name’ follows with Kenny’s fragile vocals recalling Jonathan Donahue of Mercury Rev as he asks ‘Oh babe, what’s in a name? I can’t say’.
There’s a slow-burning Avi Buffalo sound to the title track while ‘Thief on the Cross’ has subtle mathy undertones as Kenny talks about faith: ‘Remember me when you finally reach the entrance to eternity’. It also has a line that could sum up ALL of our feelings this year: ‘We all need some kindness’. Megan Lunn shares lead vocals on ‘All Night (Golden Rule)’, a folky tale or regrets, while ‘Made for Each Other’ has a beautiful, swirling sound that reminded us of Little Kid’s solitaire label mate Common Holly. The band say ‘I hope your God is merciful’ as a piano gently glides over the darkly tinged ‘Close Enough to Kill’, while the final ‘Pry’ has the same kind of evocative depth that Laura Marling summons with echoes and layers of emotion gliding over the glacial instrumentation.
The ‘Transfiguration Highway’ is a road you’ll want to take…