Kimberly Freeman - Secret Lullaby
The name “Kimberly Freeman” might sound familiar to some of our longtime readers. She was on the front cover of Issue #8 of Resident Rock Star Magazine. She is most well known as the guitar player/singer for her two-person punk/goth/metal band One-Eyed Doll. I did the review for their latest album Witches on said issue. Now Freeman has once again teamed up with her longtime producer and bandmate Jason Rufuss Sewell, not for another One-Eyed Doll album, but for a new Kimberly Freeman solo album. Her third solo album to date.
You (or at least the straw-man in my head) might be asking, “Why a solo album? Why not just make it a One-Eyed Doll album, if it’s the same members?” Well, stylistically, this is quite a bit different from One-Eyed Doll. Secret Lullaby is not a punk rock album, or even a rock album, really. This is an album where Freeman and Sewell experiment with a wide range of musical styles and lyrical themes. Much of which would not be a good fit for a One-Eyed Doll album.
The music on Secret Lullaby is much softer than what you would typically hear on a One-Eyed Doll album. Freeman draws upon a wide range of musical influences, including progressive rock, R&B, Jazz, Industrial, new age, and lots of piano ballads. Kimberly Freeman’s singing is very soulful, yet the album is tinged with moments of gothic darkness. In fact, the overall mood is dark and somber.
As Kimberly Freeman says, “I am often inspired by other people’s stories, and Secret Lullaby goes there a lot.” Like a method actor, Freeman gets inside the characters she is portraying in her music. The album feels very personal, even though Freeman says most of the songs are not about her. “To Love a Soldier” is an emotional ballad about a woman waiting for her love to return from war. “Cream and Sugar” is a jazzy tune about a girl with big dreams who is stuck working a dead-end job, serving coffee. “Hoof Horn Tooth Claw” is a bombastic orchestral piece about a pregnant pygmy goat.
Not all songs on the album tell a story. The only lyrics to “Lions and Lilies” is “Leones y Lyrios”, a tribute to Sewell’s late, bilingual grandmother. “Chocolate for Blood”, and “Secret Lullaby” have no lyrics at all. The only vocals for these two songs are more for musical effect. “Chocolate for Blood” is an eerie industrial/orchestral piece that makes me think of the creepy tunnel scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. “Secret Lullaby” is an instrumental piano ballad with light vocals in the background. The perfect song to close out an album that is full of piano ballads.
what is the final verdict? Is this a good album? If you are a hardcore rocker, it may not be for you. It is not the style I normally listen to, but it’s not a bad album. The musicianship on this album is pretty incredible. It has a wide range of musical styles, and Kimberly’s voice sounds great. The album shows great maturity. If you want something a little more adult contemporary, with dark soulful female vocals, check this album out. Maybe you guys out there could pick this one up for your girlfriend.
Purchase the album on Bandcamp.