Kimbra wows US critics: 'A vision that's entirely her own'

By Kieran Campbell

New Zealand pop singer Kimbra is making waves in the US. Photo / supplied
New Zealand pop singer Kimbra is making waves in the US. Photo / supplied

Kiwi songstress Kimbra has made a blockbuster arrival on the US music scene with her hit album Vows debuting at number three today.

And the Hamilton singer has won the approval of music critics across America as she tours the country. She has been praised as being weird, snappy, smart and exotic and widely likened to Icelandic singer Bjork.

New York Times reporter James McKinley Jr described Kimbra's live performance as electric.

McKinley's article quotes Warner Brothers Records chairman Rob Cavallo saying Kimbra "has the potential to be like Prince''.

"She looked doll-like, a brunette version of Alice in Wonderland from a Disney film, but showing off more leg than Alice would,'' McKinley said of Kimbra's live show.

The hit-filled Vows debuted at number three on the US iTunes charts and at number 20 on the Amazon bestsellers list yesterday.

Allison Stewart wrote for the Washington Post that Kimbra's debut album was "snappy and smart ... with a knack for sounding more exotic than it is''.

"Kimbra isn't afraid to sound weird. And she doesn't play hard to get,'' Stewart wrote.

"(Vows) shoehorns in a little bit of everything: Nancy Sinatra pop, show tunes, funk, kittenish light jazz and a respectable Nina Simone cover.''

Kimbra's American popularity came from her contribution to Australian singer Gotye's recent number one US hit Somebody That I Used To Know.

Like most reviews, the LA Times says the New Zealander has "a vision here that's entirely her own''.

"The young New Zealand singer-songwriter has an elastic, soulful voice and an ear for arranging screwball samples,'' August Brown reported.

"Sometimes she's self-consciously eccentric with her vocal tricks, but given her 1990s birthday, one can cut her slack for exploring how far she can push herself.''

Kyle Anderson from Entertainment Weekly said audiences would find Kimbra worthy of obsession.

"After all, who wouldn't get hung up on the New Zealand sprite's bewitching wail and gift for teleporting spryly across the sonic pop spectrum?''

The Washington Times said the 22-year-old singer had a "seriously rare'' grasp on pop music.

"Every song is a mixing pot of genres, with Kimbra's voice being the only common ingredient,'' Andrew Leahey said in his review.

"It's a chameleonic instrument, able to produce a quirky, poppy coo one minute and a heartfelt R&B wail the next, and it helps anchor the album, keeping everything stable whenever Kimbra's own adventurousness threatens to capsize a song.''

Kimbra's US tour continues until July.

Watch the video for Cameo Lover:

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 29 Jul 2014 09:30:48 Processing Time: 501ms