Amythyst Kiah has developed a devoted following as a solo artist for the majority of her gigs and previous albums. For her new self-titled EP, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Kiah brings her band onboard for a collection of five soulful songs. The addition of her "Chest of Glass" (Kiah's Band) only further highlight her significant vocal and guitar talents. The album cover, illustrated by Suzie Kelly, is of Kiah's head in half skull - a visual premonition of the album's contents: dynamic yet haunting.
The EP (aval. Oct. 28th, 2016) opens with "Trouble So Hard" a song originally written and performed a capella by Vera Hall. The haunting side of the EP is immediately present in this first song with echoing vocals and deep bass rhythm - perfectly suited for an autumn release. Electric guitar and keys jam out the ending. Some listeners may know of Vera Hall from the 1948 Alan Lomax recordings, while younger audiences may recognize the song's lyrics from a popular remix by Moby. Kiah and her band again pay homage to Hall on track 4 with "Another Man Done Gone." The surprise here is the addition of horns. By adding instrumentation to a song that originally had none, Kiah has a lot of room to run - and makes the journey fun. Rockin' the blues is what this track is all about.
Kiah's second track, "Hangover Blues" is a refreshing take on past mistakes when she sings, "and if I didi it all over again, I'd do the same damn thing anyhow." On the third track, "Myth," also an original, Kiah challenges us to ponder the meaning of love and existence. Her apocalyptic questioning is set to an arrangement of strings and slow rhythm that departs from the other songs on the EP. Kiah raises her voice over the swell of the instruments to ask whether time will keep rolling on, and, in answer, that "we'll become a myth".
The final track, "Wildebeest," kicks off with dramatic Western-showdown guitar that establishes a mood of adventure and opposition - The perfect into to a blues-rock number about love and deception. The passionate images it evokes are best left up to the listener.