For album artists especially artistic growth can be a two-edged sword – an opportunity for a genuine change of direction that can be embraced or rejected by a fanbase. Kimbra ’s desire to present a more stripped back, or vulnerable, sound on her third album doesn’t mean a minimalist approach, more a chance to de-clutter the sound a little and let her own personality come through in the music.
‘Primal Heart’ is full of well-written and produced songs that swing between RnB and electronica, a mix that is potent in places but disjointed in others.
Top Of The World is one disjointed moment. It’s a rhythmic, banging track with some verbose lyrical statements, but seems out of step with the rest of ‘Primal Heart’ in terms of approach.
Conversely, Version Of Me, an atmospheric ballad centring on piano, haunting strings and Kimbra’s voice, is one of the best moments. The silence and space provide a rare moment of stillness and potentially point to a future direction.
‘Primal Heart’ is more cohesive than Kimbra’s last album, 2014’s ‘The Golden Echo,’ but there is still a question mark over what she is trying to achieve.
At its heart, the pulsing of electronica of Everybody Knows seems to be the most natural fit for her – an effective mix of melody, song, beats, and production.
The question mark hovers over the tension between where Kimbra’s sound lies, and in what direction she wishes to go.