To be honest, I really expected something more classical (Selena-like) when I first put on this disc, but when one starts to listen to a track like “Caterpillar Eyes” it becomes evident that Kiara is making a strong entrance into the land of pop-singers. The track does not seem to be oriented to the pop music genre in 2006, however; this is more Twila Paris and nineties pop than Kelly Clarkson. Will this be a hindrance or not when it comes to hitting it big? Songs like “Caterpillar Eyes” shows a strong vocal ability by Kiara and a great production, but it really is the fans that will determine whether this will be a hit or not. The dynamic of drums and vocals toward the end of the track will undoubtedly be the biggest draw for the track, something that is only bolstered by a Santana-like guitar that weaves its way through the last few minutes of the track.
“When She Was a Bride” comes again to a more classic type of pop sound; I tend to hear a lot of (early) eighties Amy Grant present in Kiara’s output during the track. This would be a great Disney track, but for burning up the Billboard pop charts another one of Kiara’s works may do better. “Here With Me” moves the date of the pop style that influences Kiara the most during the track to somewhere in the mid-nineties; the song is still catchy and fun, but it really feels like a track that would be on the adult contemporary radio station instead of on TRL.
What is really strong during this track is the presence of a synthesizer that shakes things up and tries to plant Kiara in a newer tradition. “Like the Sea” is another track that feels older than it really is, but individuals will find it incredibly hard to turn the track. The vocal ability of Kiara are so much more impressive than individuals like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera because there is no need for Kiara to rely on the non-verbal squawking that is so present in their music. This EP is a solid collection of songs for Kiara, but for greater commercial success ey really needs to come up with a more current style of instrumentation. Still, this is a success at all levels and I know that this album will be spinning around my player for the next month at least.
Top Track: Caterpillar Eyes
Kiara – S/T / 2006 Self / 7 Tracks / http://www.kiaraduran.com / Reviewed 04 March 2006