The ice-cold synth notes don’t exactly invite you in right away, but fortunately they do work as a backdrop to Kyla La Grange’s forlorn voice on opener and title track ‘Cut Your Teeth’. “You never knew my name”, she sings blankly as the music stops. Well, perhaps with second album ‘Cut Your Teeth’, she’s hoping people will learn it.
‘Maia’, which follows, is more upbeat, but then comes ‘Cannibals’, which is just too slow to engage, its languid beat too weak to hook the listener in. ‘I Don’t Hate You’ is much more interesting, with a great nod-along chorus, but this up-down nature of ‘Cut Your Teeth’ is off-putting to say the least. There could be a great album in here, if the track list was perhaps differently organised.
The album’s darker, more sensuous moments are highlights. Headphone wearers might jump on their first listen of ‘I’ll Call For You’ and its occasional gasps of breath. This is an album that’s trying different things; not all of them work, but it makes for an interesting listen all the same.
Perhaps it’s the delay in release that left us expecting more – it’s been nearly two years since debut album ‘Ashes’ impressed. And while tracks like the tropical single ‘The Knife’ are great, with steel drums and crisp beats, the album as a whole just isn’t. A promising string of songs in the second half of the record (previously mentioned single ‘The Knife’, the soaring ‘Fly’, and the darkly slick ‘Never That Young’, featuring Jinnwoo) is rounded off by the pretty good album closer ‘Get It’, possibly the biggest sounding song on the album, making you wonder why it was left ‘til last. Kyla La Grange still has a voice you want to listen to, but two albums in, it seems like she’s still searching for the best music to set it to.