Kaia Kater, while exploring her family’s history, is dazzling and more confident than ever before. The most notable difference between Grenades and Kater’s previous work is her use of an expanded folk palette. Produced by Erin Costelo, Grenades’ placidity is luxurious. Kater’s once-commanding banjo is now folded into lush layers of instrumentation. In the case of standout tracks “New Colossus” and “Grenades,” banjo is not present at all; instead, the tracks shimmer with the dulcet tones of Christine Bougie’s guitar. This sonic tranquility feels like a balm for the violent imagery scattered throughout Grenades. Heavy rain compared to carpet bombs and Kater’s father’s descriptions of the U.S. invasion of Grenada are some of the more vivid moments. But out from this turbulence, Kater closes Grenades on a hopeful note. The journey that Kater takes listeners on here is expansive and emotional, and while the road may be bumpy, Kater deftly guides you and makes Grenades a treat to listen to. (Acronym, acronymrecords.com)
Were there significant differences between writing your first EP, Old Soul, in 2013 and Grenades?
Yes and no. I think that the original EP was the closest I’ve gotten to writing about my life and my personal history. I got further and further away from that when I went to study in the States, because I was so consumed with learning other people’s histories reflecting on music. So [ Grenades] is almost like a return to that. FOLK
What was the inspiration behind writing about your dad’s emigration from Grenada to Canada?
I want to say that it’s because of everything that has been going on since 2016. I put out Nine Pin in May  and started touring heavily in the States, and then the world kind of imploded. I want to say that was always a visceral presence, but I don’t want to say that [ Grenades is] an outwardly political album. I think it just coincided with me moving back home, back to Toronto. Also all of these conversations around immigration stories and the fact that I never really asked my dad about his.