Kirsty Almeida - Pure Blue Green
Since Kirsty Almeida crept onto our radars and blew us away with the dark, voodoo-tinged delights of ‘Spider’, anticipation has been high at TMF towers for her debut album. If ‘Spider’ taught us anything, it was that Kirsty is certainly not easy to categorise; at her most basic, she’s a female singer-songwriter but try to describe her genre to anyone and you’ll find yourself flailing from genre to genre – soul, jazz, pop, Americana to name but a few – in a desperate search for an easy answer. This has certainly proved to be the case with her debut effort and while her genre-hopping doesn’t consistently provide success, Pure Blue Green can never be called uninteresting.
There’s no doubting that when Almeida hits, she hits big and while there’s nothing that scales the brilliant heights of ‘Spider’, there are numerous musical delights to be found here: ‘Butterflies’ is an exquisite, intimate ballad that sees the production and the bombast of other tracks stripped away to leave us just with Almeida’s delicate vocals whereas ‘Couldn’t You Just’ is an absolute blast of a track, full of jaunty melodies and a massive chorus. It’s this confidence with contrasting musical styles that makes the album stand out from the crowd and just when you think you’ve heard it all, you even get a taste of the Caribbean with the tinkling of steel drums on the soaring ‘Shine All Your Light’.
Even with all the production sheen that leaves the album sounding never anything less than sumptuous, Kirsty is the real star here such as on ‘Scares Me’ which ends with the most extraordinary single vocal note that leaves you breathless. That she can match the strength of her vocals with songwriting to match is just showing off: ‘Sweet Old Love’ sees her at her most vulnerable – “It hurts me so to feel this cold, the remedies I’ve tried / I wish a brand new heart would grow so I’d feel warm inside” – but she can also do confident and ballsy such as on ‘If You Can’t Make Me Happy’ – “See I got my cuts and bruises, gonna walk away the pain / And if you can’t make me happy, gonna walk away again”.
Pure Blue Green does have very obvious troughs to its peaks though with tracks such as ‘Late At Night’ and ‘Wish You Well’ ending up a bit one-note compared to the splendour of the rest of the album with the former especially being too wispy for its own good. However, even when the tracks fail to ignite, there is always something to admire – the whistling solo on ‘Wish You Well’ is delightfully quirky – despite them not standing out enough to make you think that the album would be worse off without them.
It is probably one of the worst journalistic clichés to say that you won’t have heard anything quite like this before but it has never felt as apt. Certainly not flawless but never less than imaginative, Pure Blue Green has such a melting pot of influences and genres that there will be a track to appeal to just about anyone. If she manages to retain the originality whilst wielding some harsher editing shears to craft a tighter album second time round, it won’t be long before everyone is entangled in her web.