Maybe you haven’t heard of Kimbra before, but you’ve definitely heard Kimbra before. By luck and on recommendation her vocals ended up (standing out) on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” The 24-year-old Grammy winner is the best thing to come out of New Zealand since. . . well. . . ever? This girl will catch your attention before you even hear her open her big, beautiful, lipsticked mouth—or see the adorable, infectious smile she creates with it. She’s a little Gaga/Santigold-esque in appearance, definitely Bjork-like (‘I’ve gone to my happy place that’s not on Earth’) in performance, and Tori Amos/Prince sounding in vocals. Kimbra will not waste any of your time, but rather enhance it through her obvious dedication to the craft.
On the best day of the year, August 19, Kimbra gives America her second album, The Golden Echo, following 2011’s Vows. ‘Twas a bit of a wait, but long enough for her originality to stew, thus cultivating a dynamic masterpiece. By calling up the talents of composer Van Dyke Parks, Omar Rodriguez-López (The Mars Volta), Matt Bellamy (Muse), John Legend, Bilal and Mark Foster (Foster the People), just to name a few, she has leveled herself up both in production and songwriting.
The musical depth of Echo is tightly weaved throughout twelve “prog-pop” songs. The first single, “90’s Music,” explores just that in the most nostalgic way possible. Having barely made it to the track list, this song is fire, showcasing her style to the max. An achievement was unlocked as soon as DJ Shadow and Salva remixed it into a future/trap exploit that must be checked out after hearing the original. And “Goldmine” has a refrain and beat that you’ll be singing and turning up after just one listen: “I got a goldmine / it’s all mine / nobody can touch this gold of mine.”
Kimbra is like a shooting star, and her collaborators’ work is like the tail, leaving their traces of magic all over the album. Addictive synth rifts kept me coming back to “Love in High Places” and “Rescue Him.” The album expertly moves between bouncy dance songs and super chill, smooth numbers—the former easily finding their way onto my ‘drive to the coast’ playlist with my girls.
Maybe for a minute Kimbra was only known for being the female vocals on that one song. But now, with the release of The Golden Echo, she has very confidently released herself from and moved beyond that association. »
– Kelly Kovl