Vows It's no wonder Gotye tapped Kimbra as the object of his obsessive longing on the chart-topping single "Somebody That I Used to Know." After all,… Vows It's no wonder Gotye tapped Kimbra as the object of his obsessive longing on the chart-topping single "Somebody That I Used to Know." After all,… 2012-05-22 Kimbra Pop Warner Bros.
Music Review

Vows (2012)

RADIO READY The New Zealand import bewitches with her funky, indie styling
Image credit: Thomm Kerr
RADIO READY The New Zealand import bewitches with her funky, indie styling
EW's GRADE
A

Details Release Date: May 22, 2012; Lead Performance: Kimbra; Genre: Pop; Production: Warner Bros.

It's no wonder Gotye tapped Kimbra as the object of his obsessive longing on the chart-topping single ''Somebody That I Used to Know.'' 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?

Gotye's inescapable hit is actually a misleading entry point into Kimbra's universe; her sparkling debut wants little to do with his bleeding-heart Sting-isms. She's more interested in multiculti chaos, darting between musical branches and gleefully snatching the juiciest fruits: funked-out horns, orchestral indie shimmer, radio bounce, sexy cabaret slink. She shifts effortlessly from harmonizing with herself a cappella to growling over a hiccupy hand-clap groove, before bursting into a dance- and-shout refrain — and that's just the opening track, ''Settle Down.''

The rest of Vows is equally fresh and surprising, its genre leaps held together by Kimbra's pliant coo — a remarkably expressive instrument that can evoke toughness, heartbreak, and humor over the course of a single line. Her earnestness on the breezy ''Two Way Street'' is disarming, though ''Something in the Way You Are'' proves she's also a pro at plumbing psychological depths. But even when she's playing mind games, she's still somebody you'll want to know. A

Best Tracks:
Fervently funky Come Into My Head
Twinkling Two Way Street
Originally posted May 16, 2012 Published in issue #1208 May 25, 2012 Order article reprints
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