Caiti Baker: Zinc

review caiti baker x1 cong

The PR for Australian singer Caiti Baker claims it’s a “really cool and classy mix of pop, hip-hop, blues, 90s R&B and neo soul”. It’s true that it’s classy, and it’s mostly cool, too, but the mix of genres is a weakness to our ears. You might disagree and singers such as Caro Emerald do well in this world of mixed pop / jazz / soul / big band.

Opener Believer is a slow, bluesy song that promises of good things to come; Could It Be Nerves reverts to more of a slow bluesy/soul tune, and half the album is like that, unadorned soul/blues.

Other songs such as I Won’t Sleep and Rough Old Town have a sheen of the musical to them; there are bluesy elements but the general tenor of the song is jazz hands. Closer Make Your Own Mistakes is electro-swing meets blues.

She has got an excuse for being different. Born into a musical household, with a blues-musician father, surrounded by vinyl, she was a fan of hip hop, new jack swing, R&B and neo soul/funk. Then she spent years living in a “hazy state between sleep and consciousness” while battling chronic fatigue syndrome. She was eventually cured by “biochemical nutrient therapy” and zinc supplementation (hence the album title).

During this period, she was estranged from her father. When they reunited, he gave her a USB library of more than 600 guitar licks, harmonica ideas and riffs, which form the foundation of Zinc. Not your usual backstory.

She’s talented and ambitious and the album certainly has flair and swagger. For fans of the likes of Caro Emerald and the Greatest Showman soundtrack.

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