Review: bitter's kiss - Bitter's Kiss (Independent - March 31, 2015)

With material from a release:

bitter's kiss - Bitter's Kiss
(Independent - March 31, 2015)

Buy the CD on iTunes

bitter's kiss is the brainchild and vehicle for singer/songwriter Chloe Baker, currently a student at High Tech, an arts academy in North Bergen, NJ. She's been writing songs for about a year and was aided in this recording effort by her dad, who runs a studio (handy!) and has been active in musical theater for years.

The album is - rightly - dominated by her distinctive vocals - a little girl voice with a lovely and expressive range. In shines in tracks like Love Won't Make You Cry accompanied by spindly guitar lines and piano with a vintage feel. Her voice has a sweet quality in the higher register.

The Rope, the first single, is the strongest track, a song inspired by the suicide of a distant cousin. Chloe's voice is mournful against moody cello lines as she sings,

Who are you trying to impress when you pray?
Are you asking why it hurts when you smile?
Are you thankful for the pain?

The effect is hypnotic and quite gripping.

She seems to have a slight predilection for 3/4 time, as in Waste of It All - a track something like a country waltz played after drinking absinthe with Toulouse Latrec in a Paris cafe... No One Will has an upbeat feel with nihilistic lyrics like, No one will ever kiss me.

Bitter's Kiss, the title track, is radio-friendly pop rock, like Too Far Too Fast, a swingy tune that tips the hat to the simpler riffs of classic vintage pop with a rhythmic complexity that contrasts her ethereal vocal delivery.

The danger of focusing an album on a voice is a tendency to monotony, one subverted here with a nice range of musical diversity in terms of style and a voice that is fluid enough to express a range of emotions.

Members/Instruments:  Chloe Baker (vocals/guitar/piano), Michael Baker (guitar/piano/bass/drums)

1. Bitter's Kiss
2. Waste of it All
3. Love Won't Make You Cry
4. No One Will
5. The Rope
6. Lovin' Life
7. Already Gone
8. Too Far Too Fast