Kristin McClement arrives as a fully-formed artist with a debut album to prove it. The Wild Grips is elegant, spacious and beautifully presented. From the first notes, McClement spins the web of an expert storyteller and songwriter. And that is before we even begin to discuss how mesmerising her voice is.
This record takes no time at all to begin sucking in its audience as ‘Blackfin Gulls’ serenades the senses. From there the album continues to build into a complete picture. The songs are tender and subtle, like the embrace of a loved one. For those that like to pigeonhole art, they’ll find elements of pop and folk, but both musically and with its appeal this record rises above such simple labels.
Listening to McClement’s voice is like becoming hooked on a drug as it takes over the senses, changing your feelings and perceptions. It’s intoxicating. McClement is capable of creating so much darkness, light, hope and heartbreak in just about every note of her vocals. On ‘No End To The Drum’ her voice is coupled with a brooding guitar line in perfect harmony, with instrumental flourishes flying like sparks.
There is no shortage of ambition on show. ‘Hope’s Departure’ begins with the plucking of strings but sweeps into a beguiling and commanding seven-minute song, with McClement’s vocals wrapping themselves around the listener, while ‘Drink Waltz’ ranks as another mini-symphony.
The Wild Grips is no ordinary debut album. By its conclusion, it is clear McClement has hit the ground running in the brightest and most hopeful sense. It is a marvellous record from start to finish – just heavenly.