Some may only remember Kimbra from her feature on one-hit wonder Gotye's 'Somebody That I Used To Know,' but she's been delivering music for long before then. She's back with another effort, and she's making sure she wears her heart on her sleeve. Kimbra lets her emotions run free in Primal Heart, keeping things understated to let the music do all the talking.
A nostalgic factor plays a big role in the charm of Primal Heart, letting Kimbra really tap into your emotions while she lays out all of hers. It's especially evident in numbers like 'Right Direction,' where the 80's synthpop atmosphere mixes with the more somber modernism to give it both a retrospective feel and bittersweet memories of the past. It's immediately followed by the dramatic 'Version Of Me,' which follows the heartbreak of 'Right Direction,' seeing Kimbra assure someone that "There is a better version of me." The song is minimal, primarily just Kimbra and her piano, but various strings and harmonies phase in and out, echoing out into a cinematic oblivion, these little intricacies making the song much more powerful.
Even if Primal Heart is woefully honest, it doesn't do a very good job at keeping itself afloat. There aren't moments that are particularly bad, but there aren't many that are very interesting, either. In fact, the only interesting moments come at the very end of the album, closing track 'Real Life' channeling Bon Iver with layer upon layer of affected vocals bringing the album out on a very distant and intricately disconnected end, which fits the idea perfectly. It takes a long time for it to get going, however: opening track 'The Good War' is a fairly solid start, followed by the darker 'Top Of The World' which plays it safe. The little moments don't always add up to something big like you'd hope, such as the subtle swagger of 'Human' or the great vocals at the end of 'Lightyear.' There's just something wholly underwhelming about the way Primal Heart presents itself that prevents it from really selling all the emotions it has perfectly.
Kimbra lets her emotions run free in Primal Heart, putting all her feelings out for the world to see but not necessarily keeping them interacting with them. Primal Heart suffers from being too safe, or not exploring the best parts of the songs enough. The tools are all there, but they weren't used effectively enough to make a masterpiece.
Favorite Tracks: Real Life, Version Of Me
Least Favorite Track: Past Love
Rating: 73 / 100
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