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Illuminate

Karmacoda

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Album Review

Having a female lead singer isn't mandatory for a trip-hop group, but it has certainly worked well for a long list of them — and Karmacoda is among the American groups that should be included on that list. Heather Pierce, Karmacoda's lead singer, is clearly a major asset for this San Francisco-based unit; she favors a smooth, sensuous, easy-on-the-ears vocal style that is perfect for the sleek grooves found on Illuminate. Pierce doesn't provide all of the lead vocals on this 2007 release — there are some male lead vocals as well — but she is the main singer and handles herself enjoyably well on a 52-minute disc that combines trip-hop with adult alternative pop/rock and frequently incorporates soul elements. This is an American group with a lot of British influences, which range from Portishead to Massive Attack to Everything But the Girl; Pierce, in fact, has obviously gotten plenty of inspiration from Portishead's Beth Gibbons and Everything But the Girl's Tracey Thorn. But Karmacoda is an appealing group in their own right, and one of the things they have going for them is their appreciation of R&B. Infectious grooves like "Hope Over Hope," "Something" (not to be confused with the Beatles classic), "Delay the Sun," and "Glow" aren't R&B in the strict sense, but they demonstrate that R&B overtones can be a tasty ingredient even if a group essentially has a pop outlook. Although trip-hop has been a largely British phenomenon, it has by no means been an exclusively British phenomenon — and Illuminate is a pleasing example of what the U.S. has to offer in the trip-hop department.

Illuminate, Karmacoda
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Electronic, Music
  • Released: 20 February 2007

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