Kimbra: The Golden Echo

The Golden Echo
(Warner Brothers)

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There’s a phrase, “Everything but the kitchen sink,” used to describe something as overindulgent or overstuffed. It typically has a negative connotation, but on New Zealander singer/songwriter Kimbra’s sophomore album, The Golden Echo, she has thrown everything in—kitchen sink included—and it’s a good thing. This is not to say that it’s an easy listen, or that it’s even immediately all that likable, but if you take your time with it, the seemingly disparate ideas sprawled over the one-hour duration start to come together. Kimbra dabbles in sensual R&B, frenetic indie pop, and shimmering disco, imbuing everything with a passionate enthusiasm and her distinctive voice.

It’s smart for Kimbra to have taken some time for this second album rather than capitalizing on the success of her feature on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know.” She moved to a communal farm shortly after winning the Grammy award for the song and allowed her pop spotlight to fade. The timing enabled her to come back the way she wanted, building on the eclecticism of her debut, Vows, and turning herself into an indie pop polyglot. It’s the difficulty and the sheer absurdity of the contents of The Golden Echo that make it worthwhile. By bringing together so many obtuse sounds and channeling them through the same voice, Kimbra is able to be in total control at all times. You have to follow her and play by her rules, which is difficult at first, but worth it in the end.

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About Scott Interrante

Scott Interrante currently studies Musicology at CUNY Hunter College where he focuses on issues of gender in pop music. He also writes for PopMatters, The Absolute, and Dear Song In My Head. Scott is an avid Taylor Swift fan and is currently re-watching all of Battlestar Galactica on Netflix.
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