The Golden Echo Image
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 54 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second full-length release for the New Zealand-born singer-songwriter was produced by Rich Costey.
  • Record Label: Warner Bros.
  • Genre(s): Pop, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Aug 15, 2014
    100
    There's pure pop gold to be found here, but also envelope-pushing alchemy that turns these songs into unforgettable aural expressions of joy.
  2. Aug 18, 2014
    80
    She brings the art school to the dance floor in non-corny ways. [No. 112, p.57]
  3. Aug 20, 2014
    80
    An album that just becomes more engaging with time, The Golden Echo lives up to its name: it refashions the best of what came before it into something alluringly modern and a lot of fun.
  4. Aug 19, 2014
    70
    At its worst, The Golden Echo is admirably faceless, exhausting in its eager quest to be everything to everyone at once. At its best, it’s subversive pop brilliance.
  5. Aug 20, 2014
    70
    Though its list of guests may suggest a hedge, Echo largely hews to the road that's less heavily trod upon.
  6. 67
    For most of its length, The Golden Echo is so jam-packed that the songs where Kimbra tones down the decor and lets her lyrics ring become some of the most interesting.
  7. 42
    It starts off brilliantly, but by the end of twelve tracks, it tapers off into an incessant and increasingly underwhelming performance.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Aug 19, 2014
    10
    “The Golden Echo” really works as a whole, most notably because of the segues that lead the end of one song into the start of an other. This“The Golden Echo” really works as a whole, most notably because of the segues that lead the end of one song into the start of an other. This helps seal each song together as a package and narrative ride, rather than a sequence of songs that play after each other. This includes giggling children, a spiraling haze fading into chanting and pickaxes, strings rising before a broken record skips, a laughing frenzy swirls down before abruptly stopping at a clap, and a fuzzy piano softly playing out. The use of segues was somewhat present on “Vows” (siren sings atop acapella horns after “Old Flame” and “Posse” ends with a remixed “Settle Down”), but on “The Golden Echo” so much more consideration and time was spent making these songs seamlessly blend into one long experience.
    As for the guest spots from collaborators (a list that goes on and on), it never feels like a group party. Kimbra is ever in the front seat wearing the conductor’s hat, and everything about these songs centres around her voice, lyrics, and artistic vision without distraction.
    This record is a bit of a departure from “Vows”. It abandons the jazz influences and really amps up the R&B and Electronic ones, with more emphasis on rhythm. This isn’t to say this is a throwback retro album, Kimbra isn’t weighed down or washed out by her influences. “The Golden Echo” is a look back to the past that is then filtered, redesigned, and experimented with until it becomes something completely of Kimbra’s own. It’s a shame that the joint tour with future funk partner in crime Janelle Monae was cancelled seeing as their music would resonate so well together.
    Most songs include vocal processing of some form or another (via her Voice Live Touch), resulting in deep bass, robotic harmonies, and gritty textures. Vocal layering is utilized quite frequently to create large choral explosions (building on this from ”Vows” tracks like “Sally I Can See You”, and “Home”).
    The record starts with the pitter-patter of drums overtop glowing organs on “Teen Heat”. Kimbra whispering almost as if this is a lullaby, displaying a great sense of innocence and intimacy before the Prince-like chorus explodes into a grand euphoric “I don’t want to die without knowing what it’s like to touch you”. This innocence moves into reflection on the nostalgia of youth and love in the chaotic frenzy of “90’s Music”, which incorporates trap beats and 808’s underneath high-pitched vocal harmonies and scratchy guitars preceding a throbbing synth chorus. “Carolina” is a shiny stunner; with spiraling synths cascading across bass vocal hums under swooning high vocals, and processed layered harmonies. “Goldmine” flaunts a pickaxe beat and chanting that would feel at home on Kanye West album, with a chorus reminiscent of chanting slaves gleaning for inner hope. Alien like vocals perform a “horn section” impression on the bridge of groovy future funk disco track “Miracle”. “Rescue Him” showcases a darker R&B vibe with Kimbra whispering of saving her lover from his ways. A cascading bass groove underlines schizophrenic vocals on “Madhouse” continuing the darker vibe and harkens 80’s era Michael Jackson. “Everlovin’ Ya” featuring Bilal is a trippy, gritty, electro duet. “As You Are” is an absolutely stunning piano ballad that builds with lush strings (courtesy of Van Dyke Parks) and vocal arrangements, until the climax “Come, a little to the right, get comfortable,” which simultaneously sounds inviting and disconcerting. There is almost a comfort to the danger. On “Love In High Places” Kimbra’s voice waves and flutters over jittering percussion and glowing synths before building into an explosive vocal climax, followed by insane psychedelic bass guitar wailing (courtesy of virtuoso bassist extraordinaire Thundercat). “Nobody But You” is a sunny, feel good love song, before ending with a clapping future funk jam. Closer “Waltz Me To The Grave” is slightly psychedelic, yet slightly groovy, and parts with the world (and the album) on high note, swaying and dancing off the earth being left behind without remorse or dread.
    The deluxe edition bonus tracks feature the stuttering beat and staccato vocals of “Slum Love” before a breezy chorus. Absolute gem “Sugar Lies” plays out like a whacked song for an old school Disney movie (perfect for Alice and Wonderland), sweet sing-a-long back up vocals and whistling are juxtaposed with booming bass synths before completely falling apart for the delirious acapella breakdown of the bridge. And the dizzy swirling “The Magic Hour” teeters back and forth in a sense of introspective surreality, harkening the title.
    “The Golden Echo” is the work of an artist who places exploration and experimentation first, while still keeping it grounded as pop music. The ambition is well executed, and while calling back the past, it’s echoed in a completely different and captivating way.
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  2. Aug 21, 2014
    10
    Kimbra continues to surprise me. Stylistically she's she's phenomenal, and in terms of what she can do with her voice, well the possibilitiesKimbra continues to surprise me. Stylistically she's she's phenomenal, and in terms of what she can do with her voice, well the possibilities are endless there. I first heard her angelic mastery when she collaborated with Gotye on 'Somebody That I Used To Know' and since then Kimbra has established herself into one of the greatest young singers we have, and my personal favourite artist. The Golden Echo is something magical that everyone should give a listen to. I still prefer her first album 'Vows' because I find it slightly more eclectic, but her second album is nothing short than a masterpiece. Expand
  3. Aug 19, 2014
    10
    This is a great album! Kimbra used some sounds inspired on 90s music and the best was that she did a song with this name, this one isThis is a great album! Kimbra used some sounds inspired on 90s music and the best was that she did a song with this name, this one is perfect! All the album has a great harmony and Kimbra's voice is so amazing. Expand
  4. Oct 21, 2014
    9
    very eclectic and brilliant album in a positive sense, except 90s music.. i don't know why but when compared with the total quality of thevery eclectic and brilliant album in a positive sense, except 90s music.. i don't know why but when compared with the total quality of the album, that song seems a little 'cheap' , though still above the average in standards and experimental. some soul,some funk, some r+b, some pop, some 80s synth.. and still sounds modern. enjoy a lot beginning from carolina (wonderfullll !) until everlovin ya, a chain of 5 songs breathlessly , then as you are, love in high places and a nice end for me : nobody but you. In 12 songs 9 of them are great, 2 ordinary 1 boring in summary...she is my favorite singer in modern times btw:) Expand
  5. Dec 9, 2014
    9
    This album can make you feel surrounded by alien and cosmo-graphic images and sounds and get you paralyzed and marvelled by its eagerThis album can make you feel surrounded by alien and cosmo-graphic images and sounds and get you paralyzed and marvelled by its eager propulsion, or it can make you feel exhausted and dizzy while feeling crazy and confused. Well, both sensations are correct. This album is intense, diverse, full of energy; a bit long, but really charismatic and happy. Kimbra is a fantastic artist, but she should learn how to control her excitement a bit. Nonetheless, the art work is almost remarkable. Expand
  6. Aug 28, 2014
    8
    A great pop album; definitely one of the best released this year. It has many catchy tunes, with obvious influences from 80s and 90s music. MyA great pop album; definitely one of the best released this year. It has many catchy tunes, with obvious influences from 80s and 90s music. My favorite tracks are: Carolina, Teen Heat, and Nobody But You. I also enjoyed the touch of psychedelic in Waltz Me To Grave. Expand
  7. Oct 13, 2014
    7
    Kimbra's sophomore LP The Golden Echo is just as the title describes; an album that mirrors the best sounds of the past, from 70's funk toKimbra's sophomore LP The Golden Echo is just as the title describes; an album that mirrors the best sounds of the past, from 70's funk to 80's pop, while also adding a quirky and golden overtone that improves over the scattershot Vows. Expand

See all 10 User Reviews