Friday, May 31, 2013

Kim Smith - Nova

It's not often that I am taken completely off guard by an album.  For that matter, it's even less frequent that I am at a loss for words over an artist, but Australian superstar Kim Smith has left me gobsmacked.  Kim is best known as a cabaret singer and with the release of Nova, he has stepped into the world of pop music and done so in a massive way.  He has this demeanor about his performance, a certain way his vocal expression is done that elevates this album to so much more than a simple pop album.  Staying true to his cabaret roots, he has easily injected a flair for the dramatic into every carefully placed lyric.  His delivery is classier than your standard recording artist and that sets him apart from so many other vocalists.  Between the production and his stylings, it's easy to see how this pop album could create a genre all it's own. One that I will call "Cabaret-Synth".

International producer, Måns Ek has taken special care to create an incredibly tight sound for Kim to work with and both parts of this equation work in tandem to accentuate each other.  Måns has an ability to take the very best sound and use it to enhance every subtle nuance of Kim's performance and vice versa.  The vocal track works wonders as an instrument in it's own right bringing out the best in the track.  Each of the eleven songs on the album are all unique in their execution but the common thread that brings them all together cohesively is an overall sense of change and how that effects us.  From losing someone important to growing and learning about ourselves, the themes of the tracks allow the listener to actively take part in journey.

The uptempo tracks will have you moving in a matter of minutes while the ballads and torch songs are a perfect counterbalance to help flesh out the album. "Never Ever" and "Jealous" don't really come through on the first time because you have to bounce along through them the first time, but it's the second, third and sixth time through that you listen to the lyrics and say, "Damn."  It's an incredibly easy album to just get swept up into and before you know it, it's cycled back to the beginning and you're listening to it again.  It has no pretense and doesn't demand anything from the listener aside from a little bit of time.  You don't have to skip tracks because there aren't any low points in the album.  The track order helps with the flow by giving the album an organic feel.  Natural peaks and valleys allow you to just sit back and let the music take you where you need to go.

I enjoy every track but for some reason, "Cheap" strikes a chord with me and just sits heavy in my belly.  It's a song that you don't want to let go of.  I think we have echoed the same sentiment at one point in life and maybe that's why it rings so true.  "With Me All Along" and "These Tiny Little Things" are also very meaty in their execution and I can just close my eyes and see the stories play out in my mind.  I see a lot of emoting and big arm movements.  Songs that Mia Michaels could choreograph an Emmy winning contemporary dance number to.

Kim on the Web
Twitter:  @KimDavidSmith

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