When Kay the Aquanaut says, “the American dream is a nightmare… and the nightmare is everywhere,” on the track American Expre$$ from his latest collaboration, 7 Vessels, with producer Factor Chandelier, it resonates in a way that is particularly salient in these uneasy times. But despite this nightmare, 7 Vessels provides a life raft in the midst of a sea of disingenuousness. 7 Vessels is Kay and Factor Chandelier’s sixth album together and the culmination of their long-running collaborative relationship. The result is a work that incorporates Factor Chandelier’s signature meticulous production work seamlessly with Kay’s thought-provoking lyrics. Chandelier, known for sample-free beats and live instrumentation, creates a soundscape that is so sophisticated that it reveals something new on each listen. On his tenth release, Kay has solidified his reputation as a captivating songwriter and fresh voice. The sharp social commentary combined with the intricate and multi-layered production gives 7 Vessels a power and authenticity that is rare. And despite the political slant of the album, 7 Vessels is still a smooth, sailboat deck at sunset journey through waves of moods. With appearances by Ceschi and Paranoid Castle, the album creates a sense of community weaving together different voices. So when Kay the Aquanaut repeats, “you are not alone,” on Invisible Ink, the listener can’t help but believe him. 7 Vessels does what all great art should— it speaks to our current time and place while providing much-needed comfort.