Singer-songwriter Chloe Baker, aka Bitter’s Kiss, is still a young student in her native New Jersey and is a remarkably mature talent. This self-titled album (released 31st March, 2015) contains songs of clarity, described as an “exploration of the artist’s soul”. Its eight tracks ebb and flow between melancholy and hope and go beyond the indie pop it’s categorized under. You could say that music is in Chloe’s blood. Her father, Michael Baker is a celebrated producer and contributes as a player in addition to producing the album.
What immediately strikes me is the quality of Chloe’s voice and her ability to phrase exquisitely. Father Michael’s production isn’t overloaded, allowing her voice to be the star attraction. Lyrics concern themselves with romantic relationships but look elsewhere for themes too. Title track, “Bitter’s Kiss“, about a relationship gone sour, demonstrates her great vocal range and fluid delivery. “Waste of it All” is another relationship gone wrong, but Chloe sees beyond broken relationships with a declaration of intent on “Love Won’t Make You Cry“.
“No One Will” shows her ear for melody and is very catchy, as she speaks self-mockingly of never finding love. And now, for me, the star of the show, with “The Rope“. Love this one. Inspired by the suicide of a relative from a religious background, it looks at religion and the concept of prayer and heaven. Elegant lyrics and a simple arrangement are perfect for this moving song. I found myself hitting the repeat button many times – “There’s a quicker way to heaven if you can find yourself a rope“- chilling. “Too Far Too Fast” reminds us of the concerns of youth, as Chloe reflects on her older sister setting off for college and the quick passage of time – “you’re going to find out who you are“.
Some tracks on this release are more memorable than others, but this is a fine debut and a surprisingly sophisticated one, which promises future gems.