New Zealand has given us good bands like the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra and the Flight of the Conchords, what about soul and alternative jazz singer Kimbra?
While I do spend most of my time listening to rock music, I’ve always had a place in my heart for R&B artists like Sam Cooke, Sam & Dave and Jack Shane as well as Traditional Pop singers like Nat King Cole, Frank Sinarta and even Michael Buble. So when an artist like New Zealand born, Kimbra comes around I hope for the best. Kimbra came onto the international scene by working with Gotye on the song “Somebody that I Used to Know”, but had been writing and touring for a number of years despite her age of 21. Her debut album “Vows” isn’t out in North America yet, but to gain interest in her, Warner Bros. Records have released her first EP, Settle Down. The title track and single show off her unique blend of R&B writings and modern pop beats and jazz chord progressions. The sound overall is danceable but still feels like something that I haven’t really heard before. The next track “Limbo”, sound more like the pop music that fills the top 40 charts internationally. The final two tracks, Plain Gold Ring (Live at Sing Sing Studios) and a Remix of her song Cameo Lover, are complete opposites from each other. The live recording of Plain Gold Ring, shows off Kimbra’s vocal abilities quite well and feels like something you would hear in a smoky jazz hall in the fifties. The remix, while passable, feels out of place on the EP, almost like the needed to fill in a spot on the release. Overall, Kimbra’s Settle Down is a good purchase, with three of the four tracks demonstrating her depth as an artist. Let’s hope her full album brings more of the same.