Initially sounding like the ghost of Amy Winehouse jamming with a Wellington reggae band, the much-hyped debut album from Kiwi songstress Iva Lamkum is part thriller, part fizzer.
There’s no doubt that the beautiful Chinese Samoan singer wields some serious talent. Her silky voice is perfectly suited to the twelve reggae/soul /pop fusion tracks on the album, and she comes across as a lady going places. But Black Eagle doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of a smoky voiced young woman who reads the Bible and dresses like a boardroom pin-up.
Lamkum looks hot and her voice holds the hint of fire, but Black Eagle is strangely tepid. This is possibly due to her laid-back reggae and Caribbean-pop influences, but although the album is informed by a breakup it lacks the anger and pathos that could have taken it to greater heights.
Though all the songs on the album are nice to listen to, it’s lacking the two or three anthemic singles it needs to be a true classic. Perhaps next time Lamkum and her bass player and collaborator Caleb Robinson might consider working with established songwriters to create the kinds of jaw-dropping songs they could so ably bring to life.
Another frustration with the album is that Lamkum’s words are often hard to make out, leaving the listener disconnected from the stories and therefore unable to relate to them.
However these are small gripes in the context of a very exciting new local release. Black Eagle is an interesting, fun and original album that showcases a lot of talent. If this is Lamkum’s Frank, fingers crossed her next release is her Back To Black.
Kathryn van Beek www.joyriderpromotions.com
Click here to listen to Bankrupt Visa from Black Eagle: