Kristin Mainhart
"Kristin Mainhart"

(Khromozomes ) Kristin Mainhart - Kristin Mainhart

Kristin Mainhart's voice sounds nearly identical to that of Esthero but with a hint of Portishead vocalist Beth Gibbons and, maybe, even a slight bit of Fiona Apple blended in. Combined with the minimalist mixing of Khromosomes, the album is a collection of rhythm and groove driven tracks that, while losing balance once or twice, remain on point more than half of the time.

Adding an orchestral feel here and there throughout, the album is best when it maintains a jazzy, trip-hop style as on tracks like "Comfortable." Hinting terribly strongly of Esthero's "Breath From Another" album, the Spanish "Mujer Automatica" has an excellent groove and elements previously unheard in the first third of the album. Stepping her vocals into a higher range, "Broken Girl" doesn't sound terribly far off from what's receiving mainstream radio airplay these days.

The album's weakest spot is the ill-titled "Talkin B.S." that features such uninspired lyrics as "Oh I've noticed people talk out of their ass/They say things to you that you know won't last." Luckily the album gets back on track with the melodious "So Sweet" and its beeping pulse of a backbone. Derailing, again, the album now introduces a real acoustic rock sounding song. While "Fly Away" has a nice melody, it just doesn't fit. Mainhart offers an interesting listen with the dark, full of drums and strings sound of "Never Heard." Coming too late in the album is "Another Girl." Standing out with its mix of thumping bass, pulsing programming and piano jazz, Mainhart croons "I will never change who I am just so you can say you love me/So I walk away/Because there's nothing I can say." Finally, Mainhart closes the album with an updated version of the theme of the 1964 James Bond movie "Goldfinger."

While losing its concentration a few times, the self-titled album is a good listen despite its lacking in any truly catchy songs. The Mainhart-Khromosomes collaboration, judging from the strength in more than a few of the tracks, still needs some ironing out but could have a bright future if Mainhart doesn't disappear as Esthero did.

B-