It is not neccesary to be educated in order to create good music. In the case of Kyla La Grange, it seems like her educational experience in philosophy that she got at the University of Cambridge was valuable part of a songwriting process.
Kyla has an undeniable lyrical expertise. Her songs are very conscious and knowledgeable. When she released her first album Ashes, we knew who she is. With the follow up Cut Your Teeth, we know she is a force to be reckoned with.
Contrary to her first album, her sophomore release is produced by Jakwob. She decided to swim into the electronic waters and leave the island of folk behind her. It is a straightforward indietronic, electro-pop and synth-pop with contagious tropical elements. The effect of chillout is similar to Roisin Murphy’s first albums. Kyla’s sensible voice definitely has a potential but she is letting the relaxing music be in the spotlight. Although synth sections are prominent, folk still manages to come out as a subtext.
The most successful songs are singles. Smart and catchy lyrics and interesting tropical sound of The Knife get you hooked right away. There are no hidden agendas and metaphors, Kyla hits you directly in the head One night you cut into my head, With a cold, bright fear that struck me dead, And your body lay heavy in our bed, With those bloodstained tears on your chest. Cut Your Teeth is not as brilliant as The Knife but it is still strong enough to be a single. Folk influences are definitely more to be heard here. It is a perfect mixture of vulnerability and strength Come go, break your bones, They cut you up and never let go, Swing low, Play your show, Call your mother, say ‘’take me home’’, Lie, Smile, Don’t say no, Another man down if you let them know.
This is the core power of the album – smart and direct lyrics of a young girl who writes like a mature woman, without being pathetic. Even though everything revolves around love, it is not repulsive. Kyla knows what she is writing about and she doesn’t insist on using big words, rather persisting a balance between being raw and hermetic.
Other songs to pay attention to are Maia, Cannibals and I don’t hate you. Any of these could be singles. Songs that are closing the album are a little bit less interesting, but the bonus track Make Me Pay is a cherry on top.
I can assure you Kyla La Grange is a big discovery. Maybe there are some weak spots on the album, but no doubt you should give it a try. Pay attention to what she is singing. You will be surprised.