Momentum is usually everything in the music industry. So Karise Eden’s exile from music after winning ‘The Voice’ in 2012 was seen by many as career suicide.
But the break, which Karise recently admitted was more for her sanity than anything else, has seen her deliver a truly stellar album in ‘Things I’ve Done’.
Maybe it’s her voice, which is part Joplin, part Aretha and all heart, or maybe just the classy production throughout, but this feels like an ‘artist’ album in a way her contemporaries only wish they could pull off.
From the first bars of ‘Black Heart’, Karise effortlessly reclaims her position as THE voice, not just ‘The Voice’ Australia 2012. The song is her ‘Rolling In The Deep’ moment; piano rock/pop with horns and a soulful choir.
First single ‘Dynamite’ may have been all but ignored by commercial radio, but don’t let that trick you into thinking it’s not good. Lyrically it asks a lover to jump into a relationship and let it explode, just as Karise does throughout the album’s consistently strong twelve songs.
Most of them are straight rock/pop; all made unique by Karise’s one-of-a-kind vocal interpretation. Her voice has the pain and wisdom of someone far older than her 22 years.
The title track is a bit more soulful, and has a slight Norah Jones feel, whereas ‘We Got The Night’ has a cool funk influence.
‘House On Fire’ sounds like a house party gone wild; fit with a raw-ish production, tonky piano and lively ‘burn this mother down’ refrain.
We also quite like the jazzy ‘Don’t Ask Me’ which feels like something Sam Smith could’ve put on his album.
Our favourite song, however, has to be ‘She Don’t’; perhaps due to its brutally honest lyrics describing the pressures Karise faced post instant stardom.
For those after the dramatic ballads Karise did so well on ‘The Voice’, ‘Taking It All’ and ‘Broken Hearted’ throw Karise through the musical wringer.
Quite frankly, this is one of the best reality show-related albums we’ve heard in a while in terms of artist development. The songs are tailor fit for Karise and Karise only.
Indeed, ‘Things I’ve Done’ is a triumphant celebration of both Karise’s extraordinary voice and the personal obstacles she’s had to overcome. Even if you never watched ‘The Voice’, we implore you to give this a listen if you appreciate soulful pop/rock with world-class vocals.
Download : Black Heart, Taking It All, Don’t Ask Me, She Don’t.