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Album Review: “How To Build A Boy” – Kiffie

This is the 12th album in a year long project for Kiffie. He completed the cycle with a 10 track release which also came out on CD. Let’s dive in.


“It Shouldn’t be a surprise, that I still love your eyes, I think I need you more, than I did before.”

This lyric just says what it does it just gets straight to the point, along with the chorus of “I don’t need another lover…”

This starts off wistfully on just a piano, single notes and the 808 drums drop in, I love 808 snares, so that got me from the beginning. There’s a lovely guitar solo in there too featuring the talent of Lucas Andrews. I don’t miss the fact there’s no bassline but it makes up for it with the synth lead lines in there too, as well as the analogue strings.

All in all, a nice way to open the album.

Burned Out (Synth Instrumental Version)

This is an instrumental piece, I like the high end synth lead, over the top of an arpeggiated synth bass line, I could imagine this ringing around if mixed in dolby atmos, and being surrounded by the sounds…. The drums are processed enough to make it sound heavy and make the kick thump as well as have a bit of delay. Nice work. 

Fear 2 Stop

“Nudge nudge nudge fear fear!” This is the intro for this, all whispered and comes in and out through the track.

It takes me back to the 1980s as does the album in general, with all its analogue vibes, I think Vince Clarke would be interested to hear this. 

The throbbing bassline is nice, single notes only but it works well. This is a radio edit by the way!

There’s a synth solo the sound of which reminds me of a 70s disco noise that you don’t hear very often – the one I really recall is from Buck Rogers, a scene where he teaches the 25th Century crowd how to boogie, and shows the musician on stage how to “Get down!”

Nice throwback.

The Ending 

“I can’t apologise try as I might, I need another day, I need another day…”

Kiffie uses falsetto for this, and to great effect too. 

I think my favourite lyric so far is “So we try to live our lives I na better so say you’re here to stay till the ending…” 

I don’t know why but that works for me. Something to ponder.

Pieces Of Me 

This is a song of heartbreak. The lyrics reflect that, and I guess this part is open to interpretation but it’s like the protagonist is seen as a plaything that’s been discarded because they’re broken and therefore no use to the person they’ve written about. It’s all in the lyrics. 

I can pack myself away with all the other toys,

Pretend it doesn’t hurt like all the other boys.

Pack myself away like all the other people,

Put the lid on and hide it away.

This to me is the closest link to the theme to the album and its title lyrically.

Probably my stand out track on the album.

Spider Silk 

I like the piano playing on this, nice intro, and then the accompanying drum pattern of just the kick and hi hat to give it some space. 

When the main drums come in you can hear where Kiffie wants the main piano part to be the thing that stays in your head. 

According to the accompanying notes on bandcamp this is the first proper song that he wrote in May 2020. This song continues the moody theme of the album:

“I’ve been caught in a spider web 

You’ve been spinning for me…”

Again this is open to interpretation, but to me spider silk can seem attractive when up close but when caught in it it’s hard to break free and I think this is what Kiffie is trying to capture here….

I Know 

More analogue goodness, I like the squelchy bass as well as the bell like electric piano… The heartbreak through the lyrics and acceptance of failure is evident in the lyrics and the counter melody over the chorus illustrates the pain. 

“I know I know it’s my fault…”

It’s really hard not to play air drums along to this… Even if they are non existent. 

Loving the crunchy chords in there too. 

See You Again 

Taking us back to the 80s again with this, there are bleeps in there are pleasing to the ear, I’m guessing this is from Kiffie’s Korg Minilogue – I’m happy to be corrected, if it isn’t. But I do like the synth strings too that he’s playing on this, it makes me want to revisit the analog synths again for their warmth!

The lyrics are a call to rebuild and to start again.

“Turn the page and read the instructions,

Turn the page to avoid destruction,

Never meant to make you break,

Turn the page to avoid this heartache.”


How To Build A Boy

Great way to close out the album, the piano work is beautiful on this, and the arrangement is bang on, bringing the instruments up one by one. 

The analog sounding organ mini solo works too, as does the special guest appearance of his father on violin. 

The lyrics give you an idea of how to build a boy without instructions – it’s quite simple, mending the heartache and the headache of a breakup…

All in all an introspective album, lots to think about lyrically, and musically. It just does the job. 

How To Build A Boy – Kiffie On Bandcamp


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1 Comment

  1. Kiffie says:

    Thank you for the kind review and for the interpretation, that is spot on. Yes korg minilogue xd! You are correct.

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