Kristin Kontrol: X-Commmunicate (Album Review)
Artist: Kristin Kontrol
Genre: Alternative/ Pop
Standout(s): X-Communicate, White Street, Skin Shed, Drive the Night, What is Love
After being a part of international rock outfit Dum Dum Girls, Kristin decided to embark on a solo venture. 2015 would be the year in which Kristin would gain full control. And thus she goes under the moniker of Kristin Kontrol; with a ‘K’ or course but not to be confused the Kardashian/Jenner clan or Mortal Kombat. Well the Mortal Kombat association wouldn’t be a far stretch as she’s a child of darkness.
Kristin’s debut solo album X-Communicate is a scrapbook of 80s New Wave and Electronica. It’s safe to say that the 80s has become the trend in pop music. However, Kristin seems to embody this decade better than most. After being in Dum Dum Girls for so long, it’s quite obvious that her aesthetic is less Top40 bastardization of those genres and more direct interpretation. Her productions aren’t conventional and watered down. Many artists that reference that decade dilute it so severely that it loses its edge. Kristin sharpens that blade constantly on this album.
The title track is a dark synth-pop treat. The under layered synths and bassline create a throbbing foundation for Kristin’s stark and visceral vocals. The guitar solo during the climax was impeccable. Her attention to production and mood is spot on. Skin Shed is another synth wonder. It’s even darker than the previous track. The drum loops is reminiscent of Madonna’s Erotica album. Drive the Night’s surf-pop is California dreaming if it was in a Tim Burton film. There’s a little gloom to the sunny soundscape. The guitar riffs are sublime and the chorus is glorious. The melody is so rich.
The melancholy sets in on What Is Love. The tragic and dramatic intro is chilling and heartbreaking. The production is clean and saccharine. It gives the album a sense of heart and hope. Though this record is on the gloomy and dark side, even in darkness there’s always some light. This song expresses that sentiment.
Debut albums can be a tricky and often times puzzling endeavor; especially venturing into the deep alone after being in a group for so long. Kristin’s debut solo record is nothing short of a masterpiece in production, lyrics, vocal arrangements and theme. She found a way to balance her old sound and venture into new sonics. She said so herself “It’s just a balance of holding on and letting go.” This album was indirectly her shedding the past and walking into the future. The little hints sprinkled over the album were clues to her new found independence as an artist. This is Kristin Kontrol. It’s nice to finally meet you.