You can probably think of artists that you just can’t imagine sounding better, no matter their effort. Or some who are so cocksure of themselves that you know they won’t change anything to improve, at least not deliberately.
Anna Kairos, an independent pop-noir artist, falls into neither of the two aforementioned categories of musicians. When listening to her new EP, one can definitely hear some improvement in the songwriting department compared to her previous work. Still, the young artist has a long journey to go. I wouldn’t describe her debut EP “Hosting Time” as notably outstanding, or even average. The fact that debut EPs are rather among the unspectacular work of a musician or band doesn’t justify a dreary release, though.
Despite some promising moments, “Hosting Time” makes quite the tiring listen. The EP is consisting of four piano-based tracks. It starts off with “Twilight”, which is a track that builds up in the beginning with the help of ethereal electronic sounds and a simple piano melody. The song eventually turns into a ballad with a quite plain piano pattern – which will return in other songs – that is broken up by some more interesting melody patterns. I see endless ways how this track could have become a lot more exciting: For instance, one could have incorporated some of the electronic elements from the beginning into the rest of the track, which would have made it more cohesive. Additionally, there is no distinct resolution at the end of the song, which, yes, is a justified complaint when it comes to pop music. The next track, “Call Me Out”, actually sounds quite promising if you omit some inconsistencies in rhythm. It sounds much more atmospheric and multi-layered than any other track on “Hosting Time”. “Cast My Shadow” and “Last Time” only differ by nuances – and both are not very memorable.
Throughout this entire EP, Anna Kairos proves to be a singer who wholeheartedly loves to sing and isn’t afraid of showing her true emotions, but simply cannot live up to some basic standards. She still has some substantial issues with intonation, as her vocals are vague in general and her belting sounds rather dissonant even in her lower to middle register. The most prominent difficulties can be spotted in Anna’s (not very well-developed) breathing technique, which results in power loss right at the end of nearly every phrase. But these are issues that no decent vocal training hasn’t fixed until now.
The bottom line is that even though “Hosting Time” has some hidden potential, the actual output is shaped by sizeable songwriting issues, woolly songs and unadventurous melodies. Some will say that one shouldn’t expect much of a pop album. I, on the contrary, am of the firm belief that you can’t blame a genre for dull music. I’m not saying that the album should have been written in a more complex way – actually, it is a welcome change to find a recording that feels so intuitive and natural – but it definitely could have been made more interesting and, with the right amount of practice, more well-executed in general.
There are great musicians in every genre, but Anna Kairos has to improve on many levels to become one.
Release date: July 13, 2018
Rating: disappointing (2)
Anna Kairos – vocals, piano
02. Call Me Out
03. Cast My Shadow
04. Last Time