Just Like An Echo.
The last time we heard from her, Kimbra was featured on Gotye’s 2011 single, “Somebody That I Used To Know.” Now, she’s back and releasing her second full-length album, The Golden Echo. Audiences may be used to the Gotye sound and single, but that’s a far cry from where this new album actually is sound-wise.
For this album, Kimbra teamed up with artists like Matt Bellamy of Muse and Mark Foster from Foster the People. The album’s first single, “90s Music,” is meant to be a throwback to the 90s sounds. If you’ve lived through the 90s, there’s always a sense of nostalgia. Listening to this song brings on confusion instead of nostalgia. While there are elements that remind you of the 90s, it’s a strange amalgamation of a future sound. Think the 1950s attempting to create the sounds of the 1990s. The hook even has a heavily altered voice yell out some of the 90s artists (TLC, Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, and Nirvana just to name a few).
“Goldmine,” the album’s third fourth track, begins with an R&B feel. It relies on the space and is one of the lighter musical tracks. “I got a goldmine, it’s all mine / nobody can touch this gold of mine” proves catchier than it seems. “Madhouse” easily sounds like it could be a Paula Abdul or Janet Jackson song with the same R&B beat, synth sounds, and similar vocal effects.
The title is fitting: the album is like an echo because it mimics the sounds we are familiar with. Some tracks immediately give off a sense of familiarity. Some of the final tracks, “Love In High Places,” “Slum Love,” and “Waltz Me To The Grave” for instance, seem to take the album straight into a more futuristic feel. True to her electropop roots, the backend of the album is definitely some of the more adventurous material. “Sugar Lies” has a heavy distorted feel but it works.
Audiences will probably only know Kimbra for the Gotye song, but this album is definitely a distance from that. Her sound can’t really be defined— instead, she has this weird mashing up of various sounds. R&B-ish one second, and electronic the next. The sounds are distinct enough that you will hear echoes of the songs after an initial listening. It may not compute, but you’ll hear it.