Kahimi Karie

Larme de Crocodile

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Kahimi Karie finally released an album something close to four years into her career. Certainly it had made her a very enigmatic artist, but also seemed to suggest that she couldn't carry anything more than six tracks. Here, she relies upon artists she had been collaborating with over the years, but for the first time she would be striking out without her main partner in music and life, Keigo Oyamada -- the two had separated after Le Roi Soleil. The results are a mixed bag, mostly due to her composers expecting too much from her. Where in the past they wrote to her limitations (incredibly limited range and volume), here they write for the singer they wish she was. Momus pulls out two great songs from his bag of tricks: "Cat From the Future" and "Lolitapop Dollhouse," but Kahimi can't enunciate the lyrics in the first, and can't give any power to the second, which is a rousing rock number that sounds like a beat combo trying to re-create the Chemical Brothers' "Setting Sun" without the electronics. Yasuharu Konishi's "Alcohol" and "Watashi No Jinsei, Jinsei No Natsu" were written for Mari Natsuki and Maki Nomiya, respectively, and suffer accordingly. Probably the best suited tracks are "Paris Texas," a moody, dark thing written by Aiha Higurashi of Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, where she seems a ghostly presence, and the two modest tracks written for her by Katerine. Sonically, the album is striking -- it's just that the star in the middle is in danger of disappearing from it.

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