Lat­est al­bum could fi­nally cat­a­pult Kim­bra


Lethbridge Herald - - TUNES ENTERTAINMENT - Mark Kennedy

Kim­bra, “Pri­mal Heart” ( Warner Bros.)

If there’s any mu­si­cal jus­tice, Kim­bra’s third stu­dio al­bum should be the one that fi­nally cat­a­pults the New Zealan­der to the ac­claim she de­serves.

On the 12-track “Pri­mal Heart,” the mul­ti­in­stru­men­tal­ist singer-song­writer shows off her im­pres­sive range, from glis­ten­ing techno-pop to string-and-pi­ano-fed torch songs to even a world beat­driven club banger.

Not fa­mil­iar with the name? Born Kim­bra John­son, she al­ready has two Grammy Awards, thanks to her mon­ster col­lab­o­ra­tion on Go­tye’s “Some­body That I Used to Know” in 2012. Six years later, she is some­one you need to know.

John Con­gle­ton, who won a Grammy for pro­duc­ing St. Vin­cent’s self-ti­tled al­bum, teams up with Kim­bra to pro­duce the al­bum, for which Kim­bra had a hand in writ­ing ev­ery song. “I’m older now/ but I feel my time/ start to be­gin,” she sings.

She is joined by Skrillex for the high-en­ergy, hyp­notic “Top of the World,” which com­bines the cur­rent thirst for African rhythms with won­der­fully bom­bas­tic lyrics (“You’ll see me gath­er­ing mar­tyrs” and “Talk like I be the mes­siah.”).

If that’s her on top, a few songs later she’s bro­ken and beaten on the achingly in­ti­mate, stripped-down “Ver­sion of Me,” in which she wres­tles with her faults and begs a lover to “stay for the per­son I’ll be.”

More sides of the singer ap­pear with the gauzy, hazy “Like They Do On the TV”; in the smartly con­structed, lay­ered pop of “Hu­man”; and a brave at­tempt to grap­ple with do­mes­tic vi­o­lence on “Ev­ery­body Knows.”

Kim­bra can be sunny, too, as on “Lightyears,” a dance song that ends with the sound of laugh­ter in the stu­dio. She reaches back to an al­most Mo­town girl group feel on “Past Love” and gets dis­torted and moody on the pro­gres­sive “Real Life.”

There’s some­thing for every­one on “Pri­mal Heart” — you just have to lis­ten. “Tell me, are you out there?” she sings on the al­bum. “Can you send me a sign?”

It’s time she got one.

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