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Caroline Kingsbury - Heaven’s Just a Flight Music Album Reviews

Caroline Kingsbury - Heaven’s Just a Flight Music Album Reviews
Powered by her commanding voice, the L.A. songwriter’s debut casts questions about family, relationships, aging, death, and the afterlife in buzzing neon hues.

If the dulcet tones of Norma Jean are to be believed, it takes a lot of faith and a little resilience to make it to the pearly gates. “Heaven,” she sang sweetly on her 1968 country-gospel standard, is “just a prayer away.” For Caroline Kingsbury, an L.A.-based musician raised in a religious family in Florida, the great beyond is more attainable. If Norma Jean was spending her Sunday mornings in church, Kingsbury finds spirituality under cover of night, in drum machines and thrumming basslines. Her debut record, Heaven’s Just a Flight, casts questions about family, relationships, aging, death, and the afterlife in the buzzing neon hues of backroom bars and dimly lit dancefloors.

On past projects, Kingsbury experimented in the hazier (and perhaps more anonymous) textures of dream pop. For her first full-length, she commits both her look and her sound to the sequin-clad, cocaine-dusted ethos of glam rock. That level of drama is a tall order, but it’s a stronger and more defining background for her rich and robust voice, which flits between a growl and a yelp on a moment’s notice.

Her deep, textured croon recalls the power and theatrical range of Heart. “Massive Escape,” a runaway fantasy set to minimal new wave instrumentation, nearly vibrates with the strength of her voice, so commanding that when she sings about causing a plane crash, you’re scared to doubt her. At other times, she recalls the naked vulnerability of Karen O or Kate Bush, conjuring a sense of danger with her vocal slipperiness. When she belts out the final “fall” on the chorus of the booming “Fall in Love,” her voice tics up as if suddenly startled, evoking an actual fear of falling. Heaven’s Just a Flight finds its footing in these winking moments when hair-metal kitsch becomes living, breathing performance.

The album’s instrumentation is a collage of stylistic eras united by their outsized personalities, from disco to post-punk revival. While the distorted guitars and twinkling synths never quite transcend their root influences the same way Kingsbury’s vocals do, they provide such a convincing homage to the source material that it would almost feel perverse to stray further. Variation and experimentation takes the form of imitation across genres: “Breaking Apart” maps Kingsbury’s vocals onto the gothic syncopation of Depeche Mode. “Lose,” a mid-album slow burn, stretches her voice into a withered howl, like an uncanny companion piece to the Killers’ “Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll” (Math Bishop, who’s credited on Wonderful Wonderful, also worked on several songs on Heaven’s Just a Flight).

On an album that runs nearly an hour over 16 tracks, it’s easy to miss these small differentiations. Kingsbury describes the record as the culmination of three years of songwriting, and despite her best efforts to unify disparate periods of creativity, the album’s writing is uneven and drags in the final third. Her best songs grab you by the rhinestone-studded collar; her weaker ones feel like discarded diary entries, unfolding slower than life itself. Kingsbury covers a lot of ground on Heaven’s Just a Flight—the loss of her brother, coming out to her religious family, falling in love with her girlfriend. But in trying to compress these events into a singular vision, their themes blur and her message loses its meaning. From another angle, though, it’s just the right amount of excess for an album that paints every last call as a biblical experience.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Caroline Kingsbury - Heaven’s Just a Flight Music Album Reviews Caroline Kingsbury - Heaven’s Just a Flight Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 Rating: 5

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