O what hell the Lilith Fair years hath wrought!
The first mistake was to bring up the names of Fiona Apple and Norah Jones as comparison points in Kate Earl’s bio. The second mistake was to call her “a perfect blend of music and fashion,” a sentence that would rightfully make most music purists want to spit blood. The third mistake was to give the finished product a title that calls to mind a Lifetime movie: Fate Is The Hunter.
If the genesis of Kate Earl were indeed a Lifetime movie, it would involve Norah Jones and Fiona Apple (albeit a version of Fiona Apple that was given electroshock therapy and a series of anger-management courses) having a titillating lesbian relationship and being artificially inseminated. The sex/pregnancy scene would be soft-core and soft-focus lighting, 90% above-the-neck only, and the parts below the neck would absolutely NOT involve any of the awkward parts of sex—no one would sweat unless it made them glow, no one would hit their head or bruise themselves or say “ouch” or pass gas, and there would be a Meaningful Talk About Their Feelings And The Future afterwards. Also? The resulting child would grow up reading Jewel’s poetry and listening to the music of Train.
The nicest thing that can be said about this album is that it’s exactly that…nice. Kate Earl is not a bad girl. There’s ostensibly nothing wrong with that, but the most she ever does in her songs is get drunk (or claim she’s not drunk) while driving and plead with an anonymous officer to let her go home (“Officer”). The rest is all bad self-help manuscript rejects (“And when they come they’ll accept you / Just the way you are”—”Someone To Love”) sung by a woman whose voice resembles, yes, a higher-pitched Fiona Apple and who is awfully damn fond of leaning against various trees, walls and pillars and gazing all moony-eyed at the camera in the CD sleeve photos.
The bottom line? This album is pretty, to the saturation point of pretty. If you’re looking for something to play in the background at your next book club meeting, the one where you talk about The Lovely Bones and drink Riesling, by all means run out and buy this. If you’re looking for an album that has an original voice while keeping the pretty, run like hell.