I find that I am easily inspired to write a review when the music is distinctly above average or markedly poor (its the stuff that falls in the middle category that is usually the most troublesome). As time has passed in this new vocation of mine finding words of scorn or praise has become a lot easier. For the first 10-15 seconds of non conforming songstress Kimberley Newell’s debut EP, the couplets of criticism were already beginning to circle my mind.
Even during her opening hook I was still preparing for the worst. It seemed that Dirty Dike (who provided the all five beats) hadn’t put the ingredients into the EPs opener (and title track) that he should have done. It all seemed a little bare until Kimberley’s verse kicked in and it all immediately made sense. The Jigsaw was complete and from then on each song uses the same formula to up the ante on its predecessor.
The unconventional shrillness of Kimberley’s voice lends itself well to the substantive subject matter. I have long been asking for artists to do more than just shower the listener with repeated looks into the wrongdoings of relationships. The world deals with a lot more and Kimberley excels in that regard, squeezing what she can from all five songs.
Part of this EPs genius is the that those chosen topics overlap one track to the next. The deeper Kimberley takes us with her lyrics, the eerier Dirty Dikes instrumentation or sample loops become. The steady saunter of the opener gives way to the thick bass line and moody guitar of What Do You Need?, an exploration of society’s ‘fiending’ of material wealth and satisfaction. Which then feeds into Hot Like Me‘s (again) moody guitar and ‘Hip Hop on a diet’ drums to accompany the questioning (and parodying of sorts) of mainstream media’s ‘warped’ ideas of beauty. Things then reach their deepest point on I Envy The Faith, which far from being the atheists dream I was expecting, actually shows a real respect for what faith (in whatever guise that may take) can do for society.
The built up ‘toxins’ of all that external reflection is then released in the EPs best and easily it’s most upbeat track. Holiday (featuring an equally energetic Inja) is the antidote to its lesser numbered siblings. Its break away tempo, over eager maracas and cattle whip laced drums are obviously a purposeful deviation from the tones that came before it and although this is very much a lighthearted conclusion, it is not without a message.
I love the fact that repeated play of Kimberley Newell’s My Dreams EP is as much down to her lyrical prowess and social mindset as it is Dirty Dike’s music. I don’t like the fact that her themes of choice and those of others that choose a similar route, will almost certainly mean that any relative commercial success is probably beyond them.