Published Jul 04, 2014Given that there's a Canadian Aerosmith tribute band with the same name, the adopted moniker of this Australian singer-songwriter is a mite unfortunate. That's quickly forgiven after a few spins of this mightily impressive new album, Mama Kin's second. A big deal Down Under, she has a passionate voice capable of both power and subtlety, while her songs traverse soul, folk and rock terrain. On soulful ballad "Rescue" and "The River As She Runs," her voice evokes Natalie Merchant, the bold "One Too Many" suggests Colleen Brown, while the old folk ballad feel of "Red Wood River" makes it a song you could imagine Maddy Prior singing.
Along with producer Jan Skubiszewski (The Cat Empire), she is refreshingly willing to take chances, as on "Cherokee Boy." A song featuring little more than voice and sparse percussion, its lament of "all that's left of you is six foot underground" is genuinely moving. She is equally winning on songs with fuller production, as on the soulful grooves of "Was It Worth It" and the slyly sensual "Give Me A Reason." In lesser hands, the chameleonic shape-shifting might be distracting, but Mama Kin convinces in all her personae. Let's hope for live sightings here soon. (Star House)