Review: Gabriela Kulka Out

This is the follow up review I promised in my previous post about Gabriela Kulka’s new album, Out. You can read more about the album, access links to buy the cd, and download mp3s at the links below.

With Out, Gabriela’s music has matured from artistic expression to a true showcase of art, with the obvious intention of entertaining people rather than simply allowing them to listen. The album has such a broad range of sound, from the whimsical to the eerie. There are so many layers to the songs, such intricate and interesting detail to the vocals and music.

As I listened to the album, I kept thinking that it could be what a broadway musical would sound like if it were written by Danny Elfman and Kate Bush, with Diamanda Galas and Regina Spektor as its stars.

“In The Lens” features layered vocals that simultaneously call to mind the Andrews Sisters and the musical Chicago. Like many songs on the album, it has elements of jazz and cabaret piano meshed with a finale of vocal echoes worthy of Kate Bush herself.

“New To Somebody” has such beautiful vocals at the beginning that they can’t be compared to anything else. I think it’s the prettiest I’ve ever heard Gabriela sing, and that’s saying something. Then the song explodes into an indescribable mix of sounds and genres. It is probably my favourite song on the album, with the exception of perhaps “Spitting Image”.

“An Orange” should be used in the next Tim Burton film. You can almost hear the Oompa Loompas chanting the creepy yet upbeat opening verses.

“Laleczka” is one of the four Polish songs on the album. It has a tinkling, circus sideshow intro followed by vocals that alternate between ethereal Kate Bush highs and soulful Etta James lows. Speaking of Etta, I would love to hear Gaba conquer some classic jazz and blues songs.

“Spitting Image” is another phantasmal, Burtonesque tune with its quirky melody layered over pounding beats. The chorus is so intense, yet almost wry in its venom. Here Gabriela treads into the punk-cabaret territory of The Dresden Dolls and completely holds her own. It’s definitely one of my two favourite songs on the cd.

“Airlock” and “This City” are more traditional Gaba piano goddess fare.

“Death Won’t Save The Day” features otherworldly harmonies over a Vaudeville musical arrangement, all topped off with everybody’s favourite: handclaps!

“Shark” calms things down a bit with a more mellow atmosphere and a stylized, harmonic finale that hints at 1950s doo-wop.

“Rolemodels” mixes torch singer cabaret with the tongue in cheek cynical tone previously heard on “Jealousy”. And there’s a nice dose of handclaps over a quasi-Gospel beat.

“Pilot” is in Polish, with Phoenix-like vocals and piano building, fading, and rising again throughout the song.

“Królestwo ipól” is also in Polish, and it’s another favourite on the album. There’s an 80s synth-pop feel to the song, reminescent of The Cure, The Red Shoes era Kate Bush, or even Yaz. Lovely vocals intertwine with a meandering piano on the chorus.

“Out” is the cacophonic title track featuring piano intercut with dissonance. Something like a madman’s music box… Phantom of the Opera spinning into a pounding piano frenzy.

“King of Rats” is a re-recorded version of the title track of Gabriela’s first album (she calls it a demo, but it sounds like a real album to me). The song has a menacing, slightly taunting quality to it with uncanny harmonies over a delicate musical mix.

“Napisy Kócne” is the fourth track sung in Gabriela’s native language. It’s a airy, sing-songy finish to this unbelievably imaginative and entertaining album.

Buy @ Amazon

Buy The Album at CDBaby
Gabriela Kulka Official Site
Gabriela Kulka on MySpace

2 thoughts on “Review: Gabriela Kulka Out

  1. hey.

    firstly, i gratly appreciate this blog and what you’re doing.

    how i found myself here is;
    i was listening to my last.fm loved songs today, and i suddenly came accross gabriela kulka’s this city that i hade once loved- then forgot.
    it seems that her music is very difficult to find.

    i was very happy to find this post, but there seems to be a problem -probably because the post is so old the files must be deleted- the downloads won’t work. could you update them, if it’s not too much of a trouble?

  2. Pingback: Muruch » Blog Archive » Gaba Kulka: Live Rabbit DVD

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