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Album of the Week: Kimbra unveils a psychedelic daydream with 'Primal Heart'

A bold new direction for an ever-evolving artist. 

Last year, multi-award winning singer Kimbra was hinting at a third album. Her live performances gave insight into the sound direction the New Zealander was taking: colourful and effervescent. Now the album she’s been working on for the better part of two years is with us. A fervent collection, Kimbra’s ability to piece together sound and poetry is reaffirmed in neon on Primal Heart.

Opener ‘The Good War’ is a heady, layered beast striking a balance between commanding and delicate with its hefty beat and soaring melodies; ‘Everybody Knows’ is a rhythmic, glitchy and melodic dream. ‘Recovery’ is a display of self-awareness both lyrically and in pulling together the strengths of Kimbra’s past and the intricacies of the present. ‘Human’ is sweeping and offers the album title with great command. A highly charged electro-pop delight with layers of danceable groove and glittering effects, ‘Lightyears’ is the perfect punctuation and album standout.

With a beat that allows bass and Kimbra’s vocals to shine through, ‘Past Love’ is comparatively stripped back. Balance between the earlier electrobeats and this softer approach is epitomised in the swirling ‘Right Direction’. Piano led ‘Version of Me’ is eerily melancholic minus overindulgence. ‘Real Life’ is fuzzed out and begins the journey home, but there is no track more fitting to wrap things up than the itching, animated ‘Hi Def Distant Romance’.

Primal Heart is a sweet, psychedelic daydream. Straddling the plains of introspection and ambition, Kimbra offers infectious strength with great finesse and her timing is impeccable.