The Bloom EP starts slowly and softly. There is a faint drum beat, almost leaning you over to hear it, barely audible. Then the band kicks in, still gentle—the echo of the room providing almost as much as the lightly played guitar. It’s only gradually that Kim Kylland lets the melodies and lyrics string out to form a song. In this sense Bloom, the debut EP from Kylland, is true to its name. You’ve likely never heard of the Oakland, California folk duo before, but Bloom offers an introduction, a first springy blossom from the band.
Comprised of Kylland on vocals and guitar and her bassist collaborator Todd Schramke, Kylland makes do with very little. The songs benefit from a spacious minimalism that lets Kylland’s voice sprawl out on full display. It’s sparse folk focused on songwriting. On Bloom, those songs tend towards themes of confidence and new love—Kylland even describes it as “a kind of falling in love record.” Some of the most fulfilling moments come when the duo teams up with The Head and the Heart’s Josiah Johnson. The two tracks that Johnson adds his writing and voice to, “Make Your Own Magic” and “Overflowing Heart,” find the band in its most joyous and clear-minded state. Weaving and harmonizing alongside Kylland, Johnson helps the group reach its full potential, particularly on the closing duet which could easily fit alongside the charming folk-pop of his own band.
Writing about the EP’s titular track, Kylland notes that “in relationships, we tend to talk about things to death, which can be a great thing because you are getting to know each other’s needs, desires, and fears. But there also has to exist the space to say nothing. To let the silence speak for itself.” It’s a fitting description of the release and the band’s sound as a whole. Space plays an important role on Kylland’s debut, giving weight to the words and leaving the light music to set a mood. It’s a quiet introduction to the band, but it’s not shy.
You can stream Kylland’s Bloom EP below before it’s release this Friday, April 27.