album reviews

Kirsten Price
Guts & Garbage
KPI (2008)

Soulful singer Kirsten Price sure is feisty on her debut album, "Guts & Garbage." Her opening track, "Magic Tree," is as sultry as it is lively, with coos of "Save me!" mixed with her growling "I want more, more, more." Price sings with a scratchy, throaty sound that would make Fiona Apple jealous, but her booming voice has the dexterity and range of underappreciated R&B singer Nikka Costa.

Price's strength is her ability to alternate between the seductive and the saucy: The pleading "Let Me Go"captures both her anger and dismay at a necessary breakup, while the trip-hop-esque "Red Hot" echoes the Garbage in Price's album title by recalling the sex appeal of Shirley Manson. Like fellow British songstress Amy Winehouse, Price is at her best when she is at her most fiery. The lounging "Bring Me Back" is a nice nod to old-school soul but is the album's weakest track vocally. Price more than makes up for that slip on the other nine tracks. Even "Fall," a love song with a tender sentiment, sounds mysterious with Price's alluring voice.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 23 January 2009, Page WE08
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