Smoky tales of playful, modern Americana from Lola Kirke.
Despite being known more for her acting chops, the youngest sister of the Kirke dynasty is also clearly an emerging musical talent. Lola Kirke has delivered her debut album Heart Head West
, a mature collection of smoky, emotive and occasionally surreal tracks.
Having previously released three of the tracks as singles, this is Kirke's
first full-length offering. The album kicks off with single 'Monster' which sets the tone for the rest of the album. Full of soulful, breathy and close vocals with subtle musical accompaniment, it draws the listener in. Tracks like 'Supposed To' and 'Sexy Song' are emotive and full of innocence and feigned maturity, like a girl singing from an older sister's songbook. This gives them a beguiling sense of fun that never leaves.
The sound of twangy guitars, subtle acoustics, organ and violin runs throughout the album, intertwining but leaving sufficient room for Lola Kirke to explore the range of her voice and songs with charm. This really comes to the fore on the tracks where the music sits back and allows Kirke's voice to lead the line and breathe, such as 'Simon Says' and 'Point of No Return'. Throughout there's a bounce in the music that dials up on songs like 'Turn Away Your Heart' which ventures deep into Country Rock territory. Other songs are smoky jazz chanteuse numbers that evoke a later Vanessa Paradis, before drifting back into barroom Americana a la Sheryl Crow. Throughout there's a definite sense of intimacy that peaks with wistful tracks like 'Out Yonder' Album closer 'Point of No Return' is probably the strongest track on the album and has a laid-back, 70s FM story to tell.
As a debut, it's full of energy and innocence that isÂ alluring but occasionally loses balance. From this sign however, the growing maturity and future releases of Lola Kirke will certainly be as interesting to hear as this one.
Lola Kirke - Heart Head West is released on Downtown Records on August 10th.