Kimbra - Vows (2011 LP)

Kimbra may be a name you’ve heard bounced about on the radio recently. Otherwise known for her haunting vocals on the Gotye smash hit ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, the diminutive singer-songwriter is garnering a reputation as a remarkable artist on her own. Her debut record Vows, released through Warner, is indicative of Kimbra’s talent and unique tunes.

Already with a formidable reputation as an emotive and passionate live artist under her belt, Kimbra channels this energy early on in Vows. The rearranged ‘Settle Down’ fittingly provides listeners with an upbeat opener, demonstrating just what to be expecting of the 21 year old.

One of the remarkable things about Kimbra is her unique vocals, a feature which remains prominent throughout the entire record. Switching effortlessly between smoky, sensual lounge and crisp jazz pop, Vows is definitely a record which people with varied musical tastes can at least give a spin and get something out of. ‘Cameo Lover’ and ‘Good Intent’, two of the singles already released off the record both find Kimbra blending edgy vocals with femininity, delivering two of the highlights on the album. Kimbra entices and lures with her music and lyrics, not becoming repetitive in style or lyrical content.

If you thought her duet with Gotye was a one-off for Kimbra, in terms of her expression of darker themes, you’ll be impressed with the way she has managed to balance the upbeat with the more tender and raw songs on this record. Utterly haunting lyrics on ‘Wandering Limbs’ and ‘Limbo’ showcase Kimbra’s versatility as an artist who stands out and isn’t to become pigeon-holed as a run of the mill indie starlet. ‘Two Way Street’ is probably my favourite track on Vows, as it demonstrates Kimbra’s talent as both lyricist and vocalist, stripping everything back so we’re left with what comes across as quite a vulnerable sounding person at the root of it all. The smokiness of her voice that I mentioned previously really does inject these songs with an extra boost and emotion – there are moments where you think she’s addressing you as a listener directly, focussing all her attention on you.

Vows is the result of the past three or so years of Kimbra’s development and growth into the award-winning artist she is now and it shows her versatility to a great degree. With a sound comparable to the likes of Janelle Monaé and the vocal legend that is Nina Simone, the freshness Kimbra brings to a musical scene dominated by acoustic and indie-pop acts is sure to grasp a wide audience and give them the opportunity to embrace her creative vision. For a young artist to produce a debut record which is both full of variation and is satisfying even upon the first playback is an achievement in itself, so it’ll be interesting to see what else Kimbra has up her sleeve.

Review Score: 8.5/10