Kate Earl’s debut album, Fate Is The Hunter, ranges from deep and powerful to happy and finger-snappy. First impressions are of a disciple of Fiona Apple and/or Aimie Mann, with minor piano chords evocative of the former in one track, and bittersweet guitar inspired by the latter in another. In contrast, her soft rolling vocals are slightly reminiscent of Jill Sobule. Whether Earl lives up to the reputation of any of these great singer-songwriters remains to be seen, but she’s off to a good start with Hunter.The album’s mood ranges from the humorous in “Officer” with lyrics like “I’m not drunk I wanna go home officer / It’s been a long road and I feel awful,” to the sullen “Silence” with “Can’t get nowhere halfway / So I’ll be here ’til you’re brave…” If there was ever a semblance to Tidal-circa Apple, “Silence” would be it, piano and flute included. “Cry Sometimes” is a smooth jazz ballad, while she plays a cute chanteuse with an acoustic guitar on “Sweet Sixteen.” The hidden track “Surrender” gives us a glimpse of Earl’s love of Bjâˆšâˆ‚rk, perhaps for her ethereal soundscapes.
“When You’re Older” may be the best showcase of Earl’s budding style; sweet, sexy, thoughtful, and slightly silly. But overall there is not much of a common thread holding these tracks together other than her borderline distinctive voice. They range in style, mood, and instrumentation enough to be almost offset by one another, and the vocals barely serve as the glue. But as it stands, Fate Is The Hunter is an enjoyable debut for a gifted newcomer. We can eagerly await her next work.