Critics and writers alike have tipped Kyla La Grange for success in 2012, and her long-awaited debut album ‘Ashes’ is out today. La Grange is 24, from Essex, and deceptively diminutive in stature - deceptive because her sound is big, very big.
Straight off the bat, opener ‘Walk Through Walls’ is a soaring stadium epic, and sounds like it would be more at home as the encore at a Fleetwood Mac gig. This band comparison isn’t the only that can and will be made; as a soloist with a huge voice, the discussions of influences such as Kate Bush and Florence Welch are inevitable. La Grange carries that same apocalyptic sound that Bush became so famous for, using her vocals as an instrument that transcends the pounding drums and wailing guitars.
La Grange recently said that she wants to “revel in epic sadness and get swept up by it”, and that notion is clearly the driving force of the album. Emotional melodrama is the fundamental element of it; beyond the raw guitar, La Grange’s ‘suffering’ is the core of the record.
Where Florence took a more rounded and soulful route, ‘Ashes’ carries a visceral, goth-rock sound that conveys the kind of emotions that are rarely seen in pop music. It’s the soundtrack to a thunderous quarter life crisis, and because of this, it’s undeniably relatable.
Former single ‘Vampire Smile’ is an example of where the album uses a softer sound, and even though a record comprising of purely massive tracks would be unbearable, it serves to weaken the collection as La Grange’s awkwardly soulful voice is best suited to epic accompaniment.
‘Ashes’ is a powerful and impressive debut from one of the more candid artists in the industry. If Florence’s apparent radio wave domination gets too much, listen to Kyla La Grange, she’s a bit better anyway.