Summary

Echoing the experimental nature of recent collaborator Gotye, whose number one single "Somebody That I Used to Know" she stole the show on, New Zealand songstress Kimbra's debut album, Vows, is a schizophrenic affair that is almost impossible to pigeonhole. Effortlessly flitting from bubblegum pop starlet on the playful old-skool beats and '60s doo wop vocals of "Cameo Lover" to avant-garde banshee on the melancholic music box-inspired closer, "The Build Up," Kimbra's chameleon-like tendencies ensure that predictability is certainly never an issue on any one of its 12 genre-hopping tracks. Occasionally, this "cover all bases" approach lacks focus, but for the most part, Kimbra's invention is a marvel to behold, as her enchanting and swooping jazz-pop tones glide across a veritable feast of sounds, from the hypnotic double basslines and '30s show tune harmonies of "Good Intent"; to the plinky piano hooks and rhythmic R&B grooves of opener "Settle Down"; while a beautifully gothic take on "Plain Gold Ring" is one of the rare instances of a Nina Simone cover matching the original. It will be interesting to see if she decides to pursue a more streamlined direction in the future, but by threading its widely eclectic range of influences together in such an impressively cohesive manner, Vows suggests she might never need to. ~ Jon O'Brien