Kim Free sets out to restore the violin’s place in pop.
The violin isn’t really the first instrument that comes to mind when you think of a great pop song. Sure, there have been pop songs featuring them, but it’s very rare that the song hinges on the power of the violin. Yet Kim Free is on a mission to bring the strings back to pop with her latest EP, Make Me Yours.
Opening the EP is title track Make Me Yours, a song that embodies the whole essence of the release perfectly: it is wistful, nostalgic and dream inducing. As Free sings that she could “fly to the sky”, we, like her lyrics, are transported away from the menaces of reality into the arms of a fusion of soothing guitar and violin tones. The two instruments appear to mirror each other and form the backbone of the song, effectively setting the scene for what is a pop EP like few others.
Yet with the focus of the EP laid bare, second track Mauis sees Free’s vocals really pushed into the limelight. We hear her wispy tones delicately placed over the dark, rich notes of the violin. The bridge is used to give a different lease of life to the track, with the repetition of ‘I need you’ acting as an lifter of the tone. As the rest of the track is somewhat downbeat in a state of relaxation, the bridge injects a livelier tone acting as an effective contrast to the low tone of the rest of the track.
Finally, closing the EP is the folkish delights of River Park. If the EP is seen as opening on a nostalgic note, it can be seen as closing on the same footing, except this track takes the violin back to its folk roots rather than us to our sweet memories.
The pairing of the endearing violin with Free’s raspy vocals is perfectly fitting. Indeed, as her vocals amaze us with their range, her skills on the violin maintain this exceptional standard. This combination causes the EP to have an overwhelming sense of transcendence and dreaminess. It is impossible to listen to the delicate tones without being transported to another place. A place more conventional of a fairy-tale land.
Coming from someone who previously associated the notion of violin playing with big ol’ orchestras and symphonies, I was pleasantly surprised. Kim Free demonstrates her superb classical ability in an inclusive way. Free’s modern twist on the violin by fusing together more traditional influences such as Beethoven, with more unexpected ones such as Jimi Hendrix, allows her music to be widely accessible – a sure recipe for success.
A really beautiful EP. Just didn’t like the bridge in Maui, but really loved the violin and everything else about the EP. Nice review.