Katy Kirby showcases her trademark precision and whimsy In “Tap Twice”

Texas-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter Katy Kirby earns a double-tap with her newest single off of Keeled Scales.

Nashville singer-songwriter Katy Kirby has returned with “Tap Twice,” a track originally released off of debut EP Jupiter. This album, which has mysteriously disappeared from the internet, revealed Kirby‘s propensity for careful, thoughtful songwriting and respectable guitar riffs. This re-release is a welcome re-introduction to a fantastic singer, songwriter, and musician.

Kirby touched on the meaning of “Tap Twice,” explaining, “Tap Twice is about the formation of unspoken agreements in a new relationship, the process of silently negotiating with someone what you might mean to each other, and what happens when negotiation turns into an arm wrestling match over how much you’re willing to reveal.” Lyrically, Kirby succeeds at exemplifying this unspoken but universally experienced back and forth. She shows a great gift for hanging up fancy metaphors next to everyday lyrics with her casual way of telling complicated stories. She sings a short phrase riddled with meaning, “When we met a few years back you didn’t warm to me / And I left oranges in your bedroom like an offering / And I see you in the future / You look just the same but older / And I wave to you but I don’t slow my path.” Like fellow artists such as Lucy Dacus or Sidney Gish, Kirby has a knack for creating small scenes that contain a bigger meaning. In this verse, she simultaneously sits in the heart-sinking feeling of running into an old flame and floats right above it. As a listener, it is a privilege to be privy to the wisdom that she derives from an imagined chance encounter on the street.

Though “Tap Twice” digs into serious subject matter– namely, the heavy headiness that often occurs at the beginning of a relationship– Katy Kirby doesn’t appear to take herself too seriously as a musician. This frolicsomeness is welcome, as it often results in playful and surprising musical decisions. “Tap Twice” experiments with an abrupt stopping and starting technique; at some points in the song, Kirby seems so taken away with the story she’s telling, that she gasps for breath, the guitar quiets, and the song halts. Then, she throws herself back into the song. This decision makes for an interesting break in the natural rhythm, successfully keeping listeners on their feet and adds a bit of intrigue to an otherwise straightforward track.

Katy Kirby‘s idiosyncratic voice is the ringleader of her musical circus. She slingshots up and down the scale without strain as she makes her way through complicated vocal manoeuvres with ease. Kirby‘s voice is full of beauty and contradiction, as she croons with simultaneous strength and softness. Kirby performs with effortless familiarity. Listening to “Tap Twice” feels like sitting down with an old friend. Unlike some of the impressive technical moments, the vocal gregariousness she exhibits as a singer is something that cannot be taught. Some singers simply enchant, and Kirby‘s voice is certainly spellbinding.

In a post on Facebook, Kirby explained her logic behind re-releasing “Tap Twice,” writing, “It’s something you’ve probably heard already, and rerecording it is arguably a weird move, but in my defense—I really wanted to.” Here’s hoping that she’ll really want to re-release more. Listen to “Tap Twice” below.

Claire Greising