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Lloyd Kennedy: Wonju

February 7, 2021

New Zealand Indie-Folk songwriter Lloyd Kennedy has released his debut solo album “Wonju.”

“Wonju” tells the story of Kennedy’s year abroad in South Korea. Kennedy pulls from the journals that he kept while abroad in South Korea as inspirations for the songs. 

Kennedy opens the album with “Going to Wonju.” The track is a beautiful acoustic instrumental with sounds of an airport terminal overlayed into the mix. “Going to Wonju” sets the tone perfectly for the album, there is a feeling of adventure to the track, and it leads perfectly into the second track and single, “Change.” “Change” is about just that, change. There is an uplifting tone to the track, and the lyrics have a nice narrative flow to them. The accompanying music video, filmed, directed, and edited by Rob Hartnell is beautifully shot. Despite being mostly filmed in Auckland, Hartnell manages to capture the feeling of a travel video. “Change” sees Kennedy dressed as a cowboy and is depicted as being vagabond, travelling without care. 

“Different Trains,” tells the story of a love that he had that didn’t pan out. The track is a sweet little love song. The acoustic melody is melancholic and compliments the story arch perfectly. The background synthesizers add a lovely ambience to the instrumental hook. 

“Backstage” is one of the more interesting songs off the album. The track has more of a rock feel to it, the distorted guitar and muffled effect on the vocal track gives it a different feel to the earlier songs. The chorus has a strong hook to it and it’s a welcome change of pace. 

Kennedy has crafted an album that has a lot of feel and emotion to it. Working with producer Jeff Chen, Kennedy brings us on a journey of self-discovery and new adventures, with a series of catchy instrumental hooks and soothing vocal melodies littered throughout the adventure. 

Coming in at only seven tracks “Wonju” is a short, yet fulfilling listen. Kennedy is an effective lyric writer, despite being less than half an hour in length, the songs paint a nice picture of what Kennedy’s year abroad in South Korea was like. From the excitement on “Change,” to the feeling of meeting a potential romantic interest on “Different Trains,” to the bittersweet feeling of having to return home on the closing track “Time For Home,” in a world where international travel is nothing but a distant memory, “Wonju” is a comforting listen.  

You can watch the music video for “Change” here.

You can listen to “Wonju” here.

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