Kevin Sullivan is a musician from Philadelphia who engineers electronic sounds and sings much larger than the tiny fruit for which his project, Cumquat, is named. In his new EP, Prickly Glazer, Sullivan stitches together synths, found sound, sample, and vocals to create five very different tracks that are all equally mesmerizing.
One trait that the songs all share: an overall smoothness despite the fact that the artist never masks the glue and tear marks of his vibrant collages. In the opener, “Gush (She Pays Bail),” abstracted vocals mesh with jittery synths as electronic instruments fade in and out, but the song flows on thick and velvety as molasses. In the more pop-oriented “Consciousness Is My Trigger,” soulful singing, reminiscent of the reverberating chants of some Animal Collective, blends with the slow march of drum loops to create a delicate effect despite the intrusion of bold electronic sounds and samples (including a few “yos” from a barely detectable hip-hop sample). “The Bering Strait,” a relationship song, bears out the pain of its subject in more intense percussion and anguished vocals, and the sharp synth voice feels like Sullivan has surfaced from underwater for the first time in the EP. “Cucumber” then returns to a watery landscape with jittery synths and soulful vocals in nervous tension, and “Free Market Pangloss” leaves it again to travel to a dark—albeit humid—dance floor.
Packed with effects but polished with a steady hand and a smooth finish, Prickly Glazer is the kind of album that offers different rewards upon each listen. We recommend you start with the first listen now.