Kiwi born singer/songwriter Kimbra made waves in 2011, she won the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition with her song Cameo Lover and she featured on Gotye’s global viral hit Somebody That I Used To Know; both career milestones contributed to the success of her debut album Vows released that same year. After a year of touring in 2012, Kimbra would Instagram glimpses of her busy life in the studio as she revealed new collaborators and bits and pieces of her upcoming album; her follow-up sophomore release is called The Golden Echo.
Teen Heat is opened with steady beat, with the verses consisting of a simple melody and reminiscent lyrics; then Kimbra does what she does best and explores the highest point of her range to direct the song into this powerful chorus with a multitude of voices, only to simmer back down to the simpler sound. Sonically, it is evident that Kimbra has gone for a completely new sound, leading single 90’s Music is what you would call out of the box; it take a few listens and a read through of the lyrics for it to progress from what you would have considered an oddity to a track that is uniquely engaging and wonderfully written/arranged.
The introduction to Carolina is as much a wall of voices as it is a wall of sound, the song is so easy going and may even be what the lightest hearted of dreams are made of; the dark and eerie sound resonating from Goldmine is entrancing, Kimbra hypnotises you with an addictive chorus. Second single Miracle demonstrates the pop/funk/80’s/90’s influence Kimbra was going for with The Golden Echo, the crafted sound can be heard when the bass, strings and the keys do their thing; the chorus sounds so two decades ago it isn’t funny, but rather it’s something cool.
RnB fuses with pop in Rescue Him, every artist has that ‘being there for you no matter what song’ about a potential life partner, with or without the approval of their peers; Madhouse somewhat taps into a persona painted in the style of Prince, if you haven’t fallen in love with the new Kimbra yet, this song may just win you over. Everlovin’ Ya features American indie artist Bilal, it’s not the album’s strongest point; to be honest, the song does Bilal a little more justice than it does for Kimbra, it still follows the obscure sound crafted for the album but it’s just not up there with its predecessors.
The album tones itself down a little with As You Are, the sound of the piano takes us away from the bulk of the production side to The Golden Echo for a little while; Love In High Places is an intriguing piece of 90’s inspired percussive work, another song that switches the production down a little to show us the instruments at work here. Nobody But You cuts to the chase with Kimbra’s flawless vocal and the beat taking control, the overall sound of the track takes us back to the sound of Vows with a tongue-in-cheek melody line and a dreamy soundscape before evolving into the reinvented sound later in the track. Finally, Waltz Me To The Grave is a smooth way to see the album out, although it seemed to have dragged on a little towards the end.
It is amazing how distinctive Kimbra is as a recording artist and as a performer; The Golden Echo is a game changer, she has managed to reinvent herself once again through pure sound. Kimbra’s debut album Vows was a breezy entrance for her on the indie/pop scene, The Golden Echo is on a level of its own; sonically you certainly won’t be expecting a continuation from where the last album left off, her sophomore effort is completely different in all the right ways. Just the amount of experimentation that would have gone on in the making of this record would have been phenomenal, we hear Kimbra as we never have before and each track really speaks for itself. If you don’t like it on the first listen, click replay, you’ll hear things you weren’t able to appreciate the first time round; Kimbra continues to excite, she has managed to take something old to make it new, and it is something to be desired.