Being the featured artist on Gotye‘s Somebody That I Used To Know could work as both a blessing and a curse for New Zealand’s Kimbra. On the plus side, it works as a huge stepping stone to gaining attention of her own considering the single is on track to being bigger than Rolling In The Deep. On the downside, it might be difficult to escape the notability of that song despite it barely touching on what Kimbra to offer. She’s is a very stylistic artist. From just one listen to Vows, one can tell that she’s very versatile. Any comparisons she’s gotten to Katy Perry are completely unfounded on this album that fuses outside-of-the-box pop with jazz and soul while showing off her vocals but not overdoing it.
The songs on Vows take great care with each aspect of them. The bass in Something In The Way They Are, for example, provide a life of their own acting as the support for one of the album’s early highlights. Cameo Lover is a wall of sound appropriate for accompanying a gathering for martini drinking before heading out to the club. Classy, stylish but not intrusive. To further hear how powerful Kimbra can be, right in the middle of the record is a live recording of Plain Gold Ring which finishes with some strong vocals that clearly aren’t studio magic.
While Kimbra is oozing with personality on Vows, there seems to be a level of restraint as if she’s trying to keep up the appearance of being proper and polite while keeping her true self under wraps. That’s not to suggest that she isn’t proper and polite but there could very well be more to her than meets the ear and this is merely just one side to many dimensions.
To answer the inevitable question, Vows is a stronger album than Gotye’s Making Mirrors. It provide a more cohesive collection of songs without sounding redundant or repetitive. Other than that, both are very different but very interesting and fresh sounding artists to today’s musical landscape. For Kimbra, Vows is her beginning and if the cards are played just right, it could be the introduction to someone that everyone will know of.
1. Settle Down
2. Something In The Way You Are
3. Cameo Lover
4. Two Way Street
5. Old Flame
6. Good Intent
7. Plain Gold Ring [Live]
8. Come Into My Head
9. Sally I Can See You
12. The Build Up
13. Warrior [with Mark Foster, Alain Macklovitch and Isom Innis]