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Thread started 08/11/14 7:53am

2020

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New Kimbra CD Review - lots of comparisons to Prince

http://www.npr.org/2014/0...t=20140810

As it comes back around, an echo distorts the qualities of a sound just enough to encourage you to hear it differently. Maybe it's just distance changing the plain into the transcendent, but there's a trace of magic in an echo. It's like Narcissus' reflection, only better — inexact, an impression with new fuzz and new dimension to it. No choice but to appreciate it differently.

That's the way Kimbra's aptly titled second album The Golden Echo works. Inside its highly pressurized songs are evocations of, and direct references to, beloved iconic sounds from the big pop-music jukebox in the cloud. The 24-year-old New Zealand native, whose debut Vows was distinguished by mature songcraft and a vivid sense of narrative, has obviously devoured said archives. But she doesn't tap the past the way nerdy students usually do, by latching onto and fastidiously referencing details. Instead, she goes for larger and messier smashups, porting ideas from various eras along the pop timeline into disarmingly giddy, mismatched arrays. Lots of people are working this sound-as-mulch territory; Kimbra is the rare practitioner who can activate the nostalgia glands while making music that arrives delightfully fresh — and stays that way under scrutiny.

The Golden Echo opens with "Teen Heat," a nod to Revolution-era Prince built around a fatalistic "1999"-ish refrain ("'Cause I don't wanna die without knowing what it's like to touch you, baby") that's made urgent via tense, Wendy & Lisa-style vocal harmonies up in the nosebleed register. Then comes a song called "90s Music" that's built on the kind of streamlined Timbaland beat that made Missy Elliott famous — except that where Elliott worked one hook, Kimbra shoehorns in three, and surrounds them with zooming guitars and brass-band shenanigans. A bit later, "Madhouse" functions as a one-chord funk vamp that unfolds like a pop geek's thought experiment: What happens if we cross a plush, Thriller-ish Michael Jackson beat with brazen Prince attitude and just a touch of free-jazz dissonance?

Then there's "Miracle," which ranks right up there with Pharrell Williams' "Happy" as one of the year's most delirious pop experiences. As happens throughout the album, Kimbra starts with an ingratiatingly simple verse, then slides into a beautifully harmonized (and musically sophisticated) pre-chorus that hurtles at warp speed. The subsequent refrain is a relentless bit of wonderment, a tambourine-kissed synth-bass-propelled gem that amplifies all the magnetism of Motown: Jackson 5 harmonies, Supremes exuberance, Smokey Robinson hookcraft. It's a striking sensory experience, less a throwback in terms of notes on the page than a blast of the laser-beam pop energy that came from Detroit in the 1960s and captivated the world.

Throughout The Golden Echo, there's a sense that Kimbra — who in 2013 won the Record of the Year Grammy for her duet with Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know" — has done the inner work of finding out who she is and what noises she makes, and still has a grand time testing the limits of her sound. You can hear this in the day-glo harmonies that venture away from the candy-coated realm, in clipped off-kilter beats that straddle the hip-hop/electronica divide, in grabby hooks that proudly observe and then subvert the old-school verse-chorus pathways of classic pop. Sure, she's working with refracted echoes of sounds that came before. But in the re-purposing, Kimbra makes them golden.
The greatest live performer of our times was is and always will be Prince.

Remember there is only one destination and that place is U
All of it. Everything. Is U.
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Reply #1 posted 08/11/14 10:57am

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...and is it me or does Madhouse sound like a Prince produced and penned track from the 80s

http://grooveshark.com/#!...a+madhouse

and this guy singing with Kimbra sure sounds an awful lot like P..hmmmmm

http://grooveshark.com/#!...ho/9720074

2 fonky!!!

[Edited 8/11/14 11:04am]

The greatest live performer of our times was is and always will be Prince.

Remember there is only one destination and that place is U
All of it. Everything. Is U.
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Reply #2 posted 08/11/14 11:15am

Cinny

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The description for Kimbra's "Madhouse" itself sounds like Prince's jazz side project, Madhouse.

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Reply #3 posted 08/13/14 3:29am

ottoegil

Wow! This album sounds really great!

Gonna buy this for sure! smile

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Reply #4 posted 08/13/14 8:20am

lezama

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It sounds pretty good. Might have to pick this up.

Change it one more time..
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Reply #5 posted 08/14/14 9:27am

Romeoblu

I really like what I've heard so far. Shame it's not getting a uk release yet, as far as I can see.
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Reply #6 posted 08/15/14 9:48pm

benjaminira

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I'm loving this hard!
If it breaks when it bends, U better not put it in!
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Reply #7 posted 08/19/14 5:09pm

3rdeyedude

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this sounds good

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Reply #8 posted 08/20/14 5:33am

thekidsgirl

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This is reigniting my excitement for the album, after the first single 90s Music was a complete let down to me. I'll have to hear the rest before judging
If you will, so will I
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Reply #9 posted 08/20/14 8:13am

Cinny

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2020 said:

except that where Elliott worked one hook, Kimbra shoehorns in three,

actually Missy Elliott tended to place quite a few hooks in her songs.. I doubt her writing could be bested by Kimbra

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Reply #10 posted 08/20/14 1:52pm

Musicslave

3rdeyedude said:

this sounds good

-

That was beautiful and weird. cool Sounds like she trying to bring '88 back with that heavy "Lovesexy" influence. Janelle Monae may have finally met her modern day soul sister. At least she's not out there alone now. I only cruised through it but loved the sonic changes in the journey. I wonder what her next single will be. Some of it (a lot of it) is not really radio friendly. (Which I don't mind at all).

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Reply #11 posted 09/17/14 5:08pm

3rdeyedude

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new fav song.......tell me this song doesn't make you feel good inside

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Reply #12 posted 09/17/14 5:12pm

Jagar

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But how many comparisons have there been to Janet?

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Reply #13 posted 09/17/14 5:23pm

Graycap23

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I really dig this project.

FOOLS multiply when WISE Men & Women are silent.
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Reply #14 posted 09/17/14 10:03pm

lrn36

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Sounds more like Andre 3000 than Prince. Although I like her work, I think too many of the tracks rely on great production and not great composition.

[Edited 9/17/14 22:07pm]

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