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Prior to 2012, the name Kimbra would've meant very little to the mainstream listener outside of New Zealand and Australia despite her already having a pretty solid debut album to her name. New Zealand born and Aussie based, she was the darling of the indie pop scene in her native countries. Things quickly changed, however, when fellow Aussie resident Gotye asked her to join him on a little ditty known as 'Somebody That I Used To Know'. Sounding like a minimalist Peter Gabriel, the odd '80s pop feel managed to capture the whole world in its spell. Parody videos, covers galore, and thinkpieces out the wazoo quickly followed, as well as more awards than any one person has space on their fireplace for. Suddenly, the name Kimbra meant something to the rest of the world; and for good reason.

Whilst Vows is a pretty straight forward soul album, with the occasional flourish to keep things interesting, particularly on 'Settle Down' which, when performed live, is mostly done through Kimbra looping vocal samples to great effect, it is those odd turns that showed the 24 year old Kiwi native had something different. The Golden Echo, her second album, is full of the boundary-breaking pop that occasionally sparked up on Vows; an album so weird and so fun that it's pretty hard not to love.

Here, Kimbra's love for Prince and Michael Jackson shine through like the glittery disco ball it is. You need only to listen to '90s Music', the spectacularly oddball declaration of love for the music of her childhood with shouts to the likes of Mary J Blige and TLC, to realise that this is as far away from Vows as we are ever going to get. It's snappy, often hyperactive pop music that brings to mind the best of PC Music's output; so heavily steeped in '90s bubblegum nostalgia and the bleeps and bloops of dial-up era computers. While there's nothing on The Golden Echo as distinctly weird as '90s Music', it is a great indicator of where the album wants to go and how much Kimbra has evolved and embraced those little quirks that have always been present but never really allowed to shine.

Listening to The Golden Echo, you can't help but think that Kimbra's recent palling up with Janelle Monáe has really influenced how Kimbra has put this album together. The two bonded over their love of Prince at a festival last year and planned on doing a dual headline Australian tour together over Spring, but had to cancel when Janelle Monáe fell ill. Monae has become renowned for creating exciting albums that basically throw every genre of music together to create a full package that is altogether quite unique, especially when coupled with the story element of her albums; everything she's produced so far being part of an homage to Metropolis with just a splash of Logan's Run all tied up in a glorious Afrofuturism feel. While Kimbra's work is nowhere near as expansive as this, it's clear that Monae's embracing of a vast array of different genres has rubbed off; The Golden Echo as a sort-of Metropolis spin-off.

'Miracle' and the brilliant 'Madhouse' are the most obvious markers of her love for Michael Jackson and Prince, 'Madhouse' in particular a triumph of real funky guitars that are full of that space-funk magic so well channelled by Prince, with a bit of Paula Abdul's 'Opposites Attract' thrown in the mix for a little sweetening. The pulsing 'Everlovin' even sees Kimbra putting on a mean Prince impression. 'Carolina', with its distorted vocals and Vangelis like synths almost sounds like a futuristic Fleetwood Mac whilst 'Goldmines' jumps on the dark, minimal R&B train currently being led so wonderfully by BANKS with some malevolent trap beats and vocal samples that wouldn't sound too out of place on Yeezus.

The Golden Echo feels like the album Kimbra really wanted to make to begin with. It's mad and quirky, bursting with colour and passion for her inspirations. It feels less like album and more like a smorgasbord of everything Kimbra loves, and not in a bad way at all. It may not be an entirely cohesive whole in the way that Janelle Monáe's Electric Lady felt in spite of the often disparate genres on display, but it's still a joy to hear all these vastly different songs in one place; a real mission statement for Kimbra that Vows never managed to be.

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