On Arrival is a welcome departure that doesn’t need the confines of genre to define its style.
While On Arrival has some very genre-specific roots, I prefer referring to this solo debut long-player from Kyle Edward Connolly as a collection on the spectrum of style. Connolly is no stranger to sound-hopping: he’s honed his craft as a co-founder of bands Wish and the Seams, a member of Beliefs and Breeze, and bassist with Orville Peck’s touring band. Friends from all corners of the country stopped in to lend a hand building On Arrival, a record Connolly describes as “spontaneous,” capturing “a feeling and moment in time.” In the process, he’s also assembled a natural, casual record that’s also thoughtful and polished.
After amassing his musical ideas in fits and starts while touring the world with Peck, Connolly hunkered down at home with friend and producer Josh Korody to start fitting the ideas together into a cohesive whole. “Get Me Tomorrow” kicks off with lyrics about procrastinating and hesitating to move forward set atop breezy and acoustic guitars and confident piano. Connolly comes across as a reluctant raconteur, a role he revisits throughout On Arrival’s ten songs, but he commits fully to being non-committal. It’s not laziness he’s imbuing with his delivery but a refined relaxation that lets him move through the loosely sketched melodies of songs like “Permanent Haze” and “Drifting Away” without sounding lost.
Connolly also knows when to get out of the way of wicked jams like the pair of instrumental interstitials “Passing Me By” and “Coming Through.” The former is a rabble-rousing foot-stomper, the latter a loose-limbed groove machine that fades in on what sounds like an old Casio keyboard pre-set rhythm without a hint of irony. They are indicative of the many shades of Connolly’s musical rainbow, tied to years of musical style but not tethered by its traditions. On Arrival is a welcome departure that doesn’t need the confines of genre to define its style.