Singer/songwriter Chloe Baker of bitter’s kiss grew up in a home filled with music; her father, the other half of Bitter’s Kiss, maintained a studio, a guitar collection and a band and has for the past year been working with Chloe to record and produce her music. bitter’s kiss was thus created for Chloe Baker to express herself and demonstrate her talents, which she does beautifully on this self-titled project. “Bitter’s Kiss” offers a chance for self-reflection through the eyes of a young girl who, through different life events and experiences, is turned on to a much more profound reality than that which most of us face day to day. Enjoy our review of “Bitter’s Kiss” in full below.
A feel-good vibe is evident from the first few moments on ‘Bitter’s Kiss’, the title track, as is great production. Each of the instruments are played simply but with precision and the vocals laid down by Baker are absolutely beautiful. Baker has a voice beyond her years, one packed with emotion that all but pours out of each phrase. Her intelligent lyrics contain depth and can’t just be taken at face value. Nowhere is Baker’s beautiful and comforting performance more evident than in the chorus, where soaring vocals are sure to impress even the harshest of music critics. There is a lot of variation throughout the song (between the verses and choruses), as a game of less instrumentation versus more instrumentation is engaged in at different times to get different points and feelings across, keeping the listener interested and wanting more and more. Again, this song is produced extremely well, the tones of each instrument used matching perfectly with Baker’s mature vocal tone. ‘Waste of It All’ immediately shows some diversity (as it is in 3/4) and is rife with emotive vocal parts and echoing, disorienting guitar leads. Horns enter in the second chorus, but again it’s the breathtaking vocal performance all the way through that takes center stage. There is no question that Baker is hitting all the notes perfectly and making it sound incredibly easy. Truthfully, I keep waiting for her to make a mistake but that moment just doesn’t come. To top it off, each of the instruments are played with exquisite care and compliment the vibe of the song so well. This is an extremely likable, beautiful track whose only improvement could’ve been seen towards the later parts of the song when the drums could’ve been a bit bigger to further compliment the vocals that were reaching higher and pushing the limits of the recording. ‘Love Won’t Make You Cry’ is full of extremely soulful vocals and beautiful clean electric guitar chords that are picked and arpeggiated. Arresting lyrics are present in the choruses, and a quiet instrumental section follows the second chorus, which is then followed by a bridge over a new chord progression. Baker does it again with another absolutely perfect vocal performance and it’s not a stretch to think that these songs, this and the opening track, could very easily be heard on the radio and received well. My only issue with this track is that the entrance of the drums (cymbals) is a bit awkward and unexpected; this certainly could’ve been done more fluidly. I think a better, more suitable drum pattern could’ve been found for the chorus here instead of what is played. The drums seem a bit too quiet in the mix as well.
‘No One Will’ has a different sound from the first three tracks (could it possibly have been from a different session?) and a feel-good vibe yet ironically extremely sad lyrics. The bass parts are full and complimentary, there is a great entrance by the drums, and the drums are mixed more properly into the overall mix this time. Baker seems quite down-on-her-luck on this track and there is a lot of truth to the message contained within the lyrics here. An electric guitar lead rings in the second verse, shortly followed by soaring vocals that again take the listener away and out of their own minds. The vocal parts in the verses are extremely memorable as well. Critically speaking, the choruses could’ve only been complimented by harmonies and the acoustic guitar, which enters in the intro and continues throughout the song, could’ve been played cleaner and with more dexterity. ‘The Rope’ opens with thundershowers and horns accompanying what seems to be a funeral scene, as ‘Amazing Grace’ plays overtop this backdrop. A clean electric guitar opens the song, the guitarist emotionally picking notes out of the chords, and Baker delights with another beautiful vocal performance full of lyrics that again contain immense depth. Electronic drums enter to ring in the second verse, one of many instruments that are performed with delicate care and precision. This particular recording contained lots of background noise throughout, some of which was not necessarily constant, almost receding and re-entering like waves. ‘Lovin’ Life’ is synth-led and electronic in nature. The lyrics contain a positive message and showcase Baker’s unmarred, untainted perspective; she is truly so full of life and it shows on this record. ‘Already Gone’, another extremely likable song right from the very beginning, follows with slow-moving and beautiful piano parts that pair nicely with everything else occurring within the song. A fast-moving groove becomes apparent thanks to the bass runs which are almost Flea-inspired and fit extremely well. There is again so much emotion contained within this song, a song which leads nicely into the closing number ‘Too Far Too Fast’, whose opening chords are reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s ‘Back To December’. The lead guitar part sounds familiar as well and is soon doubled with a wavering, flowing take accompanied by a clean electric guitar that is played very adeptly. The drums are extremely complimentary and give the vocals immense space. The closing lyrics summarize the album perfectly, too: “find out who you are, you might be a star”. By this point, Baker states what we’ve already been thinking all album long; a new star in the making has certainly been found.
Overall, everything works so well on this record. There is nothing unimpressive about this collection of songs. Baker seems wise beyond her years, yet without the prejudice or negative bias that usually comes from experiencing life outside childhood. Baker’s voice is extremely versatile and works in so many different styles. It is somewhat reminiscent of Ellie Goulding and I was extremely impressed with the performances as well as the writing throughout “bitter’s kiss”. This is one of the better, extremely well-produced releases that I’ve reviewed. The vocals are absolutely perfect throughout the whole record, and each instrument is played extremely well to fit each song. My only comment production-wise is that quicker fades could’ve been assigned on the vocal tracks at a few places throughout the album where it is very quiet, as you can still hear the white noise and recording “stops” from tracking. I’m thoroughly impressed with this release and eagerly await new material from Chloe Baker and bitter’s kiss.