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Album Review: Karmin – Pulses

3 min read

Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan are the dynamic duo that each make up one half of the edgy urban pop band Karmin. Their unique name is a combination of the latin word for song (carmen) and the word karma. Karmin began in the music scene in 2010, but it was their hit single Brokenhearted that really caught people’s attention in 2012. Amy and Nick’s energetic blend of catchy hooks and crazy rap verses continued to capture everyone’s attention with new single Acapella. The only thing that this power couple haven’t done is release a debut album. Until now, that is.

Karmin PulsesMany of the songs on Pulses are about Amy and Nick’s taste of fame; after they got over the initial excitement of things,  they realised everything wasn’t as great as it seems and were bought back to reality. The title track was one of the several songs inspired by this reality. This song has all the ingredients to be another of Karmin’s urban-pop hits, but for some reason flatlines and falls short. However, it is followed by the aggressive, take no prisioners attitude of the humourous smash single Acapella.

One thing about this album is that I was expecting it to all be very urban/electro/pop. Imagine my surprise then when a ballad appeared on the album! Neon Love is totally unexpected in a very good way, and is one of the highlights on the album. Another is Tidal Wave, which is about the strain of Amy and Nick’s personal relationship whilst always being so busy. Whilst a pure pop song, it is more stripped back than some of the others and includes absolutely beautiful harmonies from the couple. With such an emotional depth to the track, listeners will be surprised that these are the same people who wrote the ‘drunk paty song’  Night Like This.

Partner Nick finally steps up to sing alongside Amy on this album. Drifter is the synth-heavy electro pop/rap track I was expecting from this pair, and they don’t disappoint. With a unique melody and both band members rapping, this is sure to be a favourite track of many. Hate To Love You also showcases Nick’s vocals alongside Amy’s cut throat rapping, to produce a catchy pure urban pop song.

Whilst Karmin got creative with their genres on Pulses, their dip into reggae with Gasoline didn’t work quite as well as it should have. The song has a really unique introduction and melody, but the reaggae chorus feels a bit disjointed from the rest of the track. I Want It All provides some 70’s disco bliss but becomes repetitive and boring after a while. But never fear, the album does start with a bang with its largely acapella Geronimo Intro.

Pulses is a great debut album from Karmin. They’ve shown that they can really mix things up to provide a cross-genre album full of variety to suit the tastes of many. There is no doubt that some of these catchy tunes will be smash hits across the globe, putting Amy and Nick in good stead for the next phase of their musical career.