Kimbra – ‘Primal Heart’ Review

The Gotye collaborator's third album is a war cry

You know Kimbra. She was on that Gotye song you couldn’t go anywhere and not hear in 2012, ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’: that Kimbra. Well she’s back! Following her 2014 release, ‘The Golden Echo’, the Kiwi crooner has returned with third album ‘Primal Heart’, and it’s been a long time coming.

“I knew I couldn’t rush the album before it felt ready to manifest” she’s said – so instead of cracking on with the next album as soon as she’d finished touring the previous, she spent time travelling. Then there was a 14-day road trip, as part of which she moved from L.A. to New York and spent time considering what kind of artist she wanted to be. It was once she’d moved that ‘Primal Heart’ started to form, after she began working with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton (Alvvays, St Vincent) and built her New York studio up one piece of kit at a time.

The time and deliberation taken by Kimbra on ‘Primal Heart’ shows, as on album three she’s truly hit her stride. Throughout she offers up rich, swirling instrumentals and intricate musical landscapes, crunchy chord progressions and twinkling chromaticism complemented by her confident, warm vocals.

Highlights come in the shimmering ‘Like They Do On the TV’, which scatters ’80s synths over lo-fi disco beats and the ethereal, vocoder ballad ‘Real Life’. Meanwhile ‘Recovery’ oozes sass, with squelchy riffs and half-spoken vocals. She’s even managed to make the whirring electronic samples in ‘Human’ – ones that sound remarkably similar to dolphin noises – sound effortlessly cool. This bold release is a war cry: Kimbra’s back, and she’s here to stay.

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