Kat C.H.R. strikes ‘Gold’ with New EP; signs to Diana King's new record label Image

by Jordan Delahaye

Jamaican musicians are mostly lumped under either the reggae or dancehall umbrella. This isn't done without reason however as most local musicians do subscribe to one or both labels and so find themselves boxed in with the rest of the industry masses. Musicians like Kat C.H.R. show that local talent is far more diverse than the masses portray.

The Jamaican underground music scene is thriving with talented musicians who are not afraid to go against the status quo. These indie artistes are usually starved for mainstream recognition and instead enjoy success among a small niche audience. Kat C.H.R. is hardly a new-comer to the industry and has stuck to her alternative guns since she first got her start back in 2005. Her latest EP, "Gold", is a tour de force that captures her unique, genre-transcending musicality.

The artiste recently headlined a concert at Redbones Blues Cafe where she performed alongside "Shy Guy" icon Diana King - a notable achievement on its own. It was announced during their performance that Kat has signed to King's new record label. The alliance between the two could prove to be a match made in music heaven for Kat, as King, with her own unique style, is one of the original and most successful avant-garde musicians to come from Jamaica and both women are proud members of the LGBT community.

"Gold" was released under King's Thinklikeagirl Music label and marks the beginning of a new and important juncture in Kat's career. It will be interesting to see how the artiste develops under King's tutelage.

The EP features Kat in her usual alternative element, crooning through four contemporary ballads about love and relationships. There is something effortless about her delivery which carries each soulful note with pronounced ease.

"Gold" features some exceptional music that makes it an overall sonic triumph.  Kat along with co-producer, Andrew 'Preggs' Thompson, should be commended as each track is accompanied by innovative instrumentals that succeed in underlining the sharp cut of Kat's lyrics without detracting from her vocal performance. Her voice is raw and powerful yet polished and oftentimes delicate. Even her lyrics effuse an earnest tenderness which almost seems paradoxical when contrasted with her punk-meets-tomboy image.

Above all, "Gold" showcases Kat's range as a musician with tactical coherence. Each track brings with it a unique aural experience that highlights a particular aspect of her creativity while maintaining overall fluidity.

"Gold" is mostly an alternative/indie compilation but just when you think you have a handle on the EP the final song strikes eureka with an unexpected but authentic reggae twist. The lovers-rock track titled "Turn Around" is the gem in the EP's golden crown and showcases Kat in a light she is rarely perceived while exposing the versatility of her sultry voice.

"Over My Head" - the EP's penultimate - boasts a punk rock edge with a rousing drum beat and the title track is a modern indie ballad that deserves its position at the helm. Kat stretches her alternative wings on "Mango" and the track also seems to draw attention to her lyrical prowess (even if the hook is a single word). In fact, Kat's skill as a lyricist is a big part of the EP's overall charm as her poetic craftsmanship translates throughout.

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