Review: The Golden Echo by Kimbra

The Golden Echo by KimbraKimbra’s first record, Vows, displayed her potential – and had a bunch of good pop songs too – but was stylistically all over the place. Not that it’s a bad thing, but a listen to her follow-up suggests that she’s finally found that sweet spot. The Golden Echo focuses squarely on the soul side of Kimbra’s music, but of course, the off-kilter production – layer after layer of things – pushes everything to a more psychedelic direction. For the most part, it works: the record shines because we know there’s a template to break, and when it does go off the track, in songs like “Carolina” and “Madhouse”, it all feels adventurous and ultimately satisfying. (The latter’s playful bass, oh good heavens.) At the same time, you hear Kimbra and her cohorts resort to the same tricks across the album – a breakdown here, a speed-up there – and the record feels predictable at times. That said, The Golden Echo still has a bunch of good pop songs, soul-flavored and sprinkled with crazy – “Miracle” remains one of the tastiest things I’ve heard this year. Should keep you shuffling for a while, especially if you’ve good headphones on. [NB]4/5

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