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EP Review: Kamryn Marie – Under Control

Kamryn Marie is a Washington, D.C. born, Alabama-based singer/songwriter. While naturally a pop artist, Marie’s sound encompasses a nuanced range, including anthemic EDM, driving rock, sensual balladry, and even a bit of country. She has accumulated steady success based on seven singles and one longplay album, As Is, since debuting back in 2017. Her latest EP is Under Control, which puts forward these genres in a cohesive collection of scenarios, centering on the exciting, yet all the more unpredictable nature of temporary flings.

The EP leads on “Somebody with A Broken Heart,” its most recognized and by now representative track. Sporting a soft, funky guitar groove that is supplemented by subdued synths, the song already lays down a strong instrumental foundation. NIGHTBREAKERS’ guest spot on this song is welcome by all accounts, as the two partake in an effectively-utilized girl meets boy scenario: Marie plays the girl who has been torn before, but keeps a humble and open outlook toward the boy she aims to pursue, and heal in the process. Meanwhile, NIGHTBREAKERS’ response verse is indicative of the presently broken, but hopeful boy, who strives to get across his equally sincere intentions. Both singers’ vocal tonalities synch up decently, as well as supplement everything with a complementary perspective. “One More Hi,” the EP’s second track and follow-up single, seems to tackle the instance of an unhealthy infatuation. Accordingly, its title is a play on words, which alludes to the extreme, delusion-inducing high one may feel when simply having their greeting reciprocated, even if on a somewhat regular basis. I felt the guitar-oriented approach worked well in addressing this context, and Marie’s voice does exhibit some flexibility when implementing pop and rock. On the EP’s midpoint, “Goodbye For Now” fittingly lulls the vibe into a slow, sultry ballad. While the percussion is kept light, the way they are implemented alongside the synths is a distinctive highlight, especially as that combination blends with the harmonies. I’d consider this point to represent a period of uncertainty, wherein the person has yet to recognize their way of life and needs at present.

Further on, “Taking Chances,” the opener on the EP’s latter half, serves as an upbeat extension of the previous track. It is thematically straightforward as its title suggests – the ‘go for it’ song by all accounts, but with a contrastingly smooth vocal harmony approach that defines its verses and chorus. By the penultimate and final tracks – “Behave” and “PDF” respectively, the transition from debating crossing the line of friendship and ultimately hooking up ensues. Both songs are worthy singles in their own write, the other especially accentuating the sentiment of living boldly, regardless of circumstances.

Overall, Under Control marks a solid EP answer to Kamryn Marie’s debut full-length. Though largely pop in its presentation, the supporting influences still manage to come through in a succinct, personable showcase of relationship vignettes. Marie clearly maintains the potential to expand upon her artistic identity, and I look forward to what she continues to offer with the new decade.

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About Jake Kussmaul

I come from a family who is passionate about all things music. I learned to sing at an early age, and by 13, had my very own Fender Strat guitar. I tried my hardest at learning all that I could. Because I was born with cerebral palsy, I had to teach myself an adaptive playing style. I learned to write and record my own music, despite these difficulties. In college, I started making great use of my writing abilities by reviewing music, as well as copy editing. I guess it's best to stick with what you know, while welcoming a fair challenge at the same time.

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