Electropop artist Kimbra recently released a new album titled “The Golden Echo”, which noticeably diverges from her debut album “Vows”. The New Zealander won a Grammy for her collaboration with Gotye in the song “Somebody I Used To Know” in 2013, which garnered much attention. However, Kimbra’s latest album features songs that contrast with the soft vocals and guitar riffs of this noteworthy collaboration.
Perhaps in an attempt to make use of this temporary spotlight, Kimbra has filled The Golden Echo with a variety of compositions that just don’t add up. The album overall is incohesive and filled with one too many nuances.
One of the two singles, “90s Music” starts with screeching electronic noises and incorporates Kimbra’s vocals in an unflattering way, so that it becomes unbearable to listen to after the first two minutes. The only break from Kimbra’s incessantly shrill vocals is the chorus, where a more stoic Kimbra recites “everyday we listen to 90s music”. Then the song continues into a bridge fully accompanied by a cliche trap beat and stretches on for almost four minutes.
The more prominent of the two singles on The Golden Echo is “Miracle” and features heavy usage of cliche chords and lyrics. The beginning of the song starts with a promising build and utilizes Kimbra’s vocals in a way, contrastingly to in “90s Music”, that is reminiscent of fan-favorite songs like “Cameo Lover”. However, the repetitive chorus makes the song sound like it was written for the sole purpose of background music for a laundry detergent commercial.
Despite the lack of creativity in both of these singles, the first track off the album titled “Teen Heat” features a more subtle composition to compliment Kimbra’s soothing vocals. This track is representative of dream pop artists such as Beach House.
Other note-worthy tracks include “Love In High Places”, a five minute long song that also contrasts with the two singles on the album by successfully blending a wide variety of influences and sounds. The subsequent track, “Nobody But You”, creates a one of the only smooth transitions between tracks. This track, with its catchy yet not annoying chorus, pulls from the classic R&B sounds that influenced Kimbra’s previous work.
Even bonus tracks such as “The Magic Hour” prove to be better compiled works than “90s Music” and “Miracle”. Opting for less cliche lyrics and more refreshing, experimental sounds instead.
Overall, The Golden Echo has been a rather lackluster sequel to the powerful and unique compositions of Vows. In this album, Kimbra relies on adding in too many “trendy” sounds which makes the majority of the songs sound messy. There are only a couple of successful segues between the tracks in this album which contrasts with older anthologies from Kimbra.