By Patrick Campbell
Released Friday August 15th 2014 - Warner Music
Since the release of her debut album Vows, Kimbra Johnson has taken the world by storm. Sell-out tours, featuring on a Billboard number one track, and even winning Grammy's, it's no surprise that when it came to recording her sophomore album, she managed to enlist the help of a few A-list musicians.
The Golden Echo is an experimental ride from beginning to end. Each song comes into it's own and fits perfectly in the album as a whole. There's no way to singularly define the type of music Kimbra is making now, there are elements of RnB, rock, pop, and electronic influences. Every song experiments with sounds and layers, creating something so unique.
The album opener Teen Heat is a slow brooding ballad that builds in the chorus full of yearning and desire. It's a simple way to start the album and prepare the listener for what is to follow. The lead single from the album90s Music gives a good representation of the album at it's weirdest and most unusual. Full of synths and different layers of distorted vocals, the song is intense and had some fans confused when first released because of how unusual it was in comparison to her other work.
Whilst still unusual, 90s Music fits with the rest of the album. Johnson is making a statement with this album; she has taken the time to make an album of beautiful, interesting, and intricate songs. Songs like Goldmineshowcase her voice over a simple backing track, the lyrics and melodies hold their own above the synths and drums, true highlights of the album.
In comparison tracks such as Miracle utilise Kimbra's voice as the main instrument; layers and layers of her voice providing the beat, and even an improvised idea for a trumpet line that was never removed showcase just how incredible her talent is. Her voice seems to have no limit, with or without the various vocal effects used throughout the album. It's enchanting to say the least.
A few of the collaborators including Thundercat and Matt Bellamy brought their influence to the tracks they worked on. Madhouse, the funky centrepiece of the entire album is an example of this. The bass line is simply incredible and adds so much to the song. This track signals the end of the fast paced, intense first half of the album, leading onto slower, simpler ballads such as As You Are, a piano/vocal track which could make most tear up.
In it's entirety, The Golden Echo is an amazing masterpiece, and a joyful experience, each song on it's own is amazing and unique to listen to. Kimbra has shown everyone that she is a true musical force to be reckoned with and is just beginning to show the world what she is capable of. The risks that were taken and the experimentation involved in creating this album have paid off, it is unlike anything else and is one of the greatest albums I've ever heard.