Sonya Kitchell

Convict of Conviction

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AllMusic Review by

Here's a talent to discover and savor, as Sonya Kitchell's name is likely not on the top of your to-find list, but should be. Her winsome, thin, and dusky singing voice bears inevitable comparison to Feist, wafting through these original songs based on a certain surreal romanticism. Kitchell also plays piano, guitars, and fronts a spare ensemble of violins and cellos, adding further to the haunting refrains her voice conjures, perhaps comparable to Robyn Hitchcock. There's serenity and sensuality combined as her chordal piano punctuates the cleverly titled two-beat "Convict of Conviction," but on occasion Kitchell stretches high notes in cloudy refrains that are half somber, half plaintive. Where "Mr. Suicidal" might be morbid in a light rock pulse, the light, steady and evocative "Snowing" displays perfect snowflake imagery for the cold winter months. The string arrangements are not at all syrupy, matching the elusive nature of Kitchell's singing, especially during "Gypsy Eyes," which can easily be her signature song and sound. Certain credit where credit is due goes to bassist and arranger Garth Stevenson for giving Sonya Kitchell the tools to create these siren songs of uncertainty, impending blues, and thinly veiled hope.

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