Album Review: Kyla La Grange – Ashes

By on Thursday, 9th August 2012 at 12:00 pm

Artists that tread the line between pop and the underground these days do so with certain levels of danger involved. The choice for the artist seems to be whether to aim for the chart sitters or push for the more honest sound that comes from not being Katy Perry.  Coming out of the more folk side of the pop spectrum in the last few years has been the likes of Laura Marling and emerging talent Lucy Rose but one that’s not been mentioned whilst quietly climbing up the venue sizes in the last few months has been Kyla La Grange.

The release of her debut album ‘Ashes’ last week sees La Grange finally show her hand and signals the directions she’s going to be pressing to in the next few months. Opening with single ‘Walk Through Walls’ signals to the very top as its pop chorus and build into one of the most promising opening tracks of the last year. This is then quickly pushed aside by the steady progression into darkness, leading the listener further into the web of La Grange’s emotions. In parts, she’s laid bare as her remarkable voice echoes through you: take ‘To Be Torn’ for example, which is an atmospheric backing track to an almost piercing vocal line. Her voice won’t be for everyone, but to those who will listen its something that toys with eeriness and beauty in equal measure.

After this comes the centre points of ‘Vampire Smile’ and ‘Been Better’. They’re the highlights of an album that starts to sound quite same-y after this. La Grange employs a variety of interesting lyrical and audible styles from the lyrics through to her wails and loops but they don’t quite add up to hugely entertaining music. From start to finish there’s something that keeps you listening though. Its catchy without having many hooks, its listenable in most situations regardless of mood set, and pending your mood you’ll notice something different about its layering. There’s something very enticing about this record but in equal measure, you could play any one track on shuffle and move on with your life. By almost all of her points of merit, La Grange lacks in the killer finish, and that’s why this record feels disappointing without ever being genuinely weak. From a first record, you expect more than that. We all do.


Kyla La Grange’s debut album ‘Ashes’ is out now on Sony Music.

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