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Fate Is the Hunter

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Album Review

Kate Earl's debut has an understated glow about it, a quiet allure that comes from a bright, almost naïvely honest young singer working with a crew of sure-handed musicians. Earl migrated to Los Angeles from Chugiak, AK. That's near Anchorage. But she sounds at home in front of a California band that includes (at various points) Mitchell Froom, Michael Penn, Wendy Melvoin, members of Incubus, Dave Scher (Beachwood Sparks), and sound artist/pedal steel manipulator Chas Smith. Earl's vocals are throaty, expressive, and pristinely clear. She's a less strident Joss Stone over the winking strings of "Silence," but delicate and half-asleep on "Free," where Scher's pedal steel and the pump organ of Patrick Warren add hundreds of style points. Earl's songwriting on Fate Is the Hunter has some gravity — she's a girl just trying to make her way in the world, or a lover, or lost thoughts and memories where darkness whispers amidst the happiness. But it's really her unadorned vocal over Hunter's finely rendered instrumentation that makes the record shimmer like an L.A. sunset. "Cry Sometimes" is a gorgeous cut, a slice of soft rock that goes back to Carly Simon or Rickie Lee Jones, and "Sweet Sixteen" is breezy with brushed acoustic strings and a great, vocal saxophone in a supporting role. "When You're Older" feels like the single — it could be Tegan & Sara. That's not wrong, but it doesn't quite fit with tracks like the ambitious, steadily building "Anything" or the touching Alaska diary "Come This Far." That's OK. For a debut, Fate Is the Hunter hits its marks wonderfully, offering grace, gravity, simplicity, and well-played, well-placed instrumentation.

Customer Reviews

Inspirational Songstress.

On first listen, it appears that Fate is the Hunter is following in the footsteps of Joss Stone, Lucie Silvas, Avril Lavinge, Katie Melua and Vanessa Carlton, and as such, Kate Earl may have fallen beneath your radar. She does not get the airplay of Stone, or the heavy advertising and BBC backing of Melua, but Alaskan-born Earl transcends the young songstress genre and has produced a fine debut that leaves her rivals wanting (for talent if nothing else...). There is much to enjoy in this short album and I hope one day soon she tours the UK since I've heard she is amazing live in the US. "Officer" is an amusing soft rock jam, "Anything" is reminiscent of Lennon/McCartney songwriting and production, whilst "Sweet Sixteen" and "Come This Far" are evokative and emotionally charged anthems. There is a mixture of styles: Blues, country, teenage angst and pure pop, expertly put together and produced by some excellent musicianship. But it's likely you have not heard her on the radio. So do yourself a favour. Forget Melua, Silvas et al, and get some of these gems on your ipod. There won't be such a lyrically beautiful and musically perfect album this year.

How much better can you get?

This is brilliant, it has everything you need to be calm. I first found it when i first got my iPod. I loved it straight away.


I sent off for the CD when it was first released, having heard Silence on a music blog. Silence was a lovely track, and one to definitely buy the CD for, but the other tracks are just as good. Kate Earl is a terrific songwriter, and I think her next album will gain her the recognition she clearly deserves. Check out her Myspace for a wonderful new song called Melody. Still wondering whether to buy this? Check out Free and Hero.


Born: 1983 in Chugiak, AK

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Songwriter Kate Earl grew up in Chugiak, Alaska, where she began her career by blending the phrasing of Cat Power and Björk with the folk-chanteuse influence of Joni Mitchell. Although heavily involved with her local church, Earl moved to Los Angeles in 2004 and quickly made an impression on the town, scoring airplay on KCRW and Indie 103.1 while catching the ear of Record Collection, a Venice-based label that eventually signed her. She continued to log West Coast performances as she recorded her...
Full bio
Fate Is the Hunter, Kate Earl
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Customer Ratings