Khonnor: Burning Palace

Too often for my liking, the Vermont wunderkind Khonnor (Connor Kirby-Long) needlessly smothered the fragile pop songs of 2004's album debut Handwriting with electronic noise. Traces of that tendency remain on the melancholic charmer “Heat Convex Dreaming,” the B-side of a new 7-inch (the first in a collectible series from Type), where he embeds his vocal within a lurch of industrial haze, woozy strings, and a high-pitched squeak.

The A-side is a different animal altogether, however. There's certainly nothing on Handwriting that head-nods as deliciously as the electro-pop anthem “Burning Palace”; even better, Khonnor offsets the song's bulbous throb and its angst-ridden lyric (“I have an issue, but it doesn't concern you”) with the prettiest of tinkling piano melodies. At two short songs only, Burning Palace is succinct in the extreme but that's clearly part of its charm—always a good sign when you're left wanting more. Given its distinguished roster, one expects Type already has in place a promising line-up of future contributors to the 7-inch series.

May 2006