Explosively controlled jazz. Volcanic scat and soul. She bobs and weaves and falls victim to the depths of her emotional possession, as all great artists do. But she rises from those depths and expresses the journey upward and outward, without losing her courage or her conviction.
Aside from her wonderful voice, running parallel with it, she moves in interesting, idiosyncratic ways to her own song. A refreshing change from all too many pop singers who dance in cookie cutter ways, pushed into narrow corporate forms to look like every other pop singer. Joy Williams of The Civil Wars is similar in her physical originality.
* * * * *
Kimbra Johnson was born in New Zealand, grew up there, but now makes her home in Australia. She has been compared with singers like Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and Bjork. Her first album, Vows, was released this past August.