Kerli - Kerli
Record Label: Island Records
Release Date: October 16, 2007
Popular music has seen its share of female rockers. Some have been superb and others shoddy. In a male dominated genre of music, women are often overlooked as serious players in the alternative music scene. It’s a common stipulation that unless you’re a scantily clad pop singer, your chances of success are minute. Although we’ve seen several anomalies over the years, this stigma, unfortunately, remains to be the norm. Kerli Koiv, an Estonian born singer with a voice twice her size, attempts to break that stereotype on her self-titled EP.
Clocking in at just under fifteen minutes, it’s difficult to know how to dissect this three song EP. Kerli’s self-titled EP is a brief glimpse into an artist’s repertoire that embraces a spectrum of emotions including loss and love with a healthy dose of angst. The EP begins with “Love is Dead,” a furious anthem of lost love. Kerli’s pristine voice soars above the dense, driving instrumentation. Kerli sings, “All I want, all I want is right here / But love don't live here anymore,” lamenting her loss. The piece concludes in a magnum opus of Kerli shrieking, “Love don’t live here anymore,” again and again. There are moments on this track when her delivery resembles the vocal styling of Bjork on Homogenic, which is just about the highest compliment a young female vocalist could hope to receive.
Kerli’s EP continues with “Walking on Air,” the absolute highlight of the three songs contained in the record. With her more palliate vocals and bouncy synth rhythms, it shows a sweeter side to her singing and could easily fit in next to any one of The Postal Service’s songs. Hints of Kerli’s Estonian accent shine through in a most charming way, showcasing her most effortless (and elegant) vocal performance of the record. Simply put, “Walking on Air” is the most tuneful song on this recording. It finds Kerli stripping her abrasive exterior and actually crafting a well-put together piece of music.
The record continues with a blatantly Evanescence tinged song “She’s in Parties,” complete with industrial, chugging guitars and augmented strings. Fans of Amy Lee’s earlier work with Evanescence will be able to find something endearing on this track. Few others will, however. “She’s in Parties” clocks in as the longest track in duration yet is the quickest to be forgotten.
While I realize that Kerli’s self-titled EP is but a sample of three songs by an emerging artist, I can’t help but think that the music on this recording doesn’t make much sense when listened to as a whole. Going from an epic vocal anthem to electro-pop to near nu-metal in less than fifteen minutes is quite a feat, but not necessarily conducive to a consistent sounding album. If she relied on her simple, sweet performance on “Walking on Air,” I think significant success could come to this artist. But I’m not giving up on Kerli yet, because she does have a great vocal talent and quite a lot of potential to match.