Slammed Doors & Severance: An Album Review

(photograph by Naomi Kavka, layout by Katie Zammit)

Sam Wall | Editor in Chief

“Forget everything that you know. Let’s begin” – Naomi Kavka, “Let’s Begin,” Slammed Doors & Severance

Naomi Kavka’s debut album, Slammed Doors & Severance, spans several years of songwriting and EPs, bringing us with her as she navigates the constant longing to be somewhere other than where you are. The way that home only feels like home when it is a far away memory. The way longing for the unfamiliar keeps our feet moving.

Kavka’s sound brings you into the depths of British Columbia, digging into what it means to live here. Whether that’s contemplating the land, family, big trucks, love, northern weather, or movement, Kavka uses her hearty voice to echo her words deep into your soul. Kavka shows us, with her first full length solo album, that she is not afraid to delve into deeply personal topics, and that is what makes this album so relatable. As a mainstay of the Prince George music scene, Kavka has shown her maturity and growth as an artist, creating a well rounded debut album. Kavka will have you singing along before you even know the words.

Slammed Doors & Severance continues Kavka’s artistic style of alt-folk country, sown with strong lyrics, vocals, and instrumentation. Kavka provides the lyrics, vocals and guitar, Corbin Spensley also adds his vocals and guitar, Blake Bamford provides lap steel guitar, Keith Rodger adds bass, Patrick Kilcullen plays piano and organ, and Justin Gendreau plays the drums. These instruments combine to create a rich tapestry of sound appealing to lovers of country and folk music, or simply enjoys well constructed music. This album would be a wonderful addition to a road trip playlist, or a walk around your hometown.

Kavka’s album follows a definite theme and flow. “No Way” opens the album with Kavka’s hearty voice over silence, leading into folky instrumentation and excellent vocals. Though there is no title track, “Slammed Doors” speaks to a severed connection, as if slamming the door on a relationship, as she sings, “I will call you once I’m figured out.” One of the more powerful tracks, “Train from Hiroshima,” uses acoustic guitar to transport us to across the globe into darker territory, as she sings, “My only hopes of getting home are clenched tightly in both hands.” The album draws to a strong close with “The Bank and the River,” showing Kavka’s lyrical prowess as nature is used as a metaphor, singing “Love was the river that destroyed through the middle”

Naomi Kavka is originally from Prince George, and currently resides here. She studied musicology and cello at Camosun College and the Memorial University of Newfoundland. Kavka is also a member of local bands Power Duo and Pocket Knife, and has played solo or with various bands over the years. The creation of Slammed Doors & Severance saw Kavka and her band travel to the remote islands of Haida Gwaii, the traditional territory of the Haida Nation, to Dogfish Cabin. There they spent one week developing the album’s ten songs, sharing comradery, food, and drink. The album cover takes inspiration from Indigenous cultural practices, as an animal hide is seen stretched and tied to a frame in preparation for tanning.

Slammed Doors & Severance will be officially released on September 16, at the Prince George Legion. The album release party begins at 9 pm, and CDs will be available for purchase. The album is also available to listen to on Naomi Kavka’s Bandcamp and Soundcloud.