Atlanta three-piece Kibi James announce their debut full-length album, delusions, out August 25th on Bayonet Records. Mari (guitar, keys), MJ Corless (bass) and Pomi Abebe (drums) join forces in crafting intoxicatingly dreamy melodies, their soft, siren-like voices sweeping you into their world as they share reflections on love in its many forms – romantic, familial, self – but most prominently the love that comes from their friendship. Co-produced, recorded and mixed by Drew Vandenberg (Faye Webster, SPELLLING, Toro y Moi) at Chase Park Studios in Athens, GA, and mastered by Heba Kadry, delusions is laden with vividly lush portraits of the places they call home – Atlanta, revolution, community, their physical house, and the sense of home they find in one another.
All Atlanta natives and longtime friends having met through their local music scene, the trio formed Kibi James in 2018 in response to the homogeneity of the bands in their orbit. Despite not having much prior experience playing instruments, especially with other people, they enlisted the help of Sugar Candy Mountain’s Ash Reiter and Will Halsey in recording and producing their hypnotically saccharine first EP, Azúcar, in November 2019. After recording the demos that would comprise delusions in their home, the band stepped into a professional studio for the first time when recording with Vandenberg in Athens- an oasis amidst constantly growing tensions in Atlanta still brooding from the intense policing during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, most recently manifesting in the form of the Stop Cop City movement.
While the outside world is often a source of chaos, Kibi James finds security and intimacy in their shared domestic life together – the details of which come in the form of the intimate narratives and memories that make up delusions. From the manifestation spell for their current house that’s included in the first verse of “mister g,” to finding solace in loved ones on “right now” and “bender,” the band’s ultimate sense of home is both fluid and utterly unshakeable, as long as they have each other. Together they channel the blissful sweetness of ‘90s indie pop and shibuya-kei, calling to mind the voices of Sweet Trip’s Valerie Cooper, 800 cherries and Saint Etienne. They harmonize in both English and Spanish as their voices cozily intertwine, singing of their hopes for the future over hazy, treated guitars and the gentle pattering of drums. The sensual palette of Kibi James is one adorned with pastel hues and dense greenery, serving as a reminder that despite our societal troubles, what should always remain is our connection to nature and to humankind.
“For artists trying to survive in this capitalist world, I think some level of delusion is necessary,” says MJ of the album title. These words ring true throughout the story of both delusions and Kibi James on a larger scale, having come a long way in their instrumental skill and trajectory as a band. But their heads don’t get lost in the clouds dreaming up projections of who they should and can be. Their strong sense of unconditional love and mutual camaraderie keep them grounded, preserving the warm, optimistic light that has shone through every aspect of the band since their genesis. “We're proud of where we come from and where we're headed. We're absolutely going to keep these delusions going.”