Kylie Odetta does not necessarily push the limits of R & B with her new EP Undertow, which came out last month. What’s incredible is her execution. The texture of Odetta’s vocals is like candlelight shining through foggy glass. She also provides the piano, an instrument she’s played with expert ability from the age of 6. Now at 19, Odetta continues to exhibit range and ability beyond her years.
Most of her songs share a common subject: love and relationships. It’s a story we’ve heard before, yet Odetta manages to strike a devastating blow, especially with “You Don’t Love Me.”
Three different producers worked with Odetta on Undertow, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to the album all the way through. The EP exhibits a fairly strong consistency of overall sound and timbre. Amazing percussion and syncopated rhythms can be heard throughout the album. The syncopation of various instruments, polyrhythms, and at times complicated time signatures lift the album out of the R&B status-quo and make it a truly interesting addition to the genre.
Because of this attribute, it may not be surprising that, while Odetta grew up on the sounds of top 40 radio, but she also draws heavily from jazz piano greats such as Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. “Sunny Day” exemplifies this influence and stands out on the album for it’s incredible interplay between percussion and organ. Combined with Odetta’s crooning, the track washes over you with multiple layers of sound.
Undertow is available now to stream or download from iTunes.