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Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Kayla Cohen, the creative force behind Itasca, returns with the highly anticipated album "Imitation of War," marking her first release in over four years. Co-produced by Robbie Cody (Wand, Behavior), the album takes Itasca into uncharted territory, exploring rockier terrain with a collection of smoky nocturnes and evocative idylls.

Renowned for her ethereal vocals and nimble guitar skills, Cohen captivates listeners with a sound that glows like the sun at dusk. NPR describes her voice as such, while MOJO hails her work as "simultaneously haunting and heavenly." Pitchfork commends Cohen's talent for evocation, capturing place, weather, and physical presence with unmatched precision.

"Imitation of War" is a masterful blend of loose, lean, and smolderingly electric guitar-forward recordings, showcasing Cohen's evolution in sound. The album explores mythologies and psychologies, weaving a tapestry of classical and deeply personal narratives. With urgency and refined sonic artistry, Cohen navigates themes of faith, love, and artistic expression.

The album's lead single, "Milk," sets the stage with dreamlike reflections on saints, mythologies, and the haunting beauty of Sierra landscapes during a wildfire. The title track, "Imitation of War," delves into allegorical theatricality, embracing symbolism and subject matter that includes El Dorado, Circe, and Orion.

Recorded against the backdrop of a forest fire near Sequoia National Forest, the album's inky, glammy production reflects the eerie, eternal gloaming of that moment. Co-producer Robbie Cody, known for his work with Wand and Behavior, adds a newfound levity and sense of fun to the recording process, resulting in an album that is both immediate and profound.

Cohen's guitar prowess shines throughout the album, notably on the sublime nine-and-a-half-minute centerpiece "Easy Spirit," where she expands her folk-inflected touchstones into rock-and-roll strata. The album's ten sturdy set-pieces reveal the most electric and liberated iteration of Itasca's catalog to date.

"Imitation of War" is more than a musical experience; it's a journey into the performance of war postures at every scale of life. Cohen's confident authorial voice shines through, breaking free from imitation and fully embracing the staged postures hinted at in her earlier work. As she declares in "El Dorado," the road to her artistic El Dorado is clear, and with this album, Cohen invites us to join her on a captivating adventure where the story will never truly end.


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