Kate St. John – Second Sight – Review

Kate St. John

Second Sight (Thirsty Ear)
by Jamie Kiffel

Swooping breathily into fainting phrases of lost love, Kate St. John evokes evenings steeped in cigarettes and absinthe, indulging in the French cabaret. Although St. John’s French vowel twists lack the sultry gutsiness of Edith Piaf, the music she writes, and its rich, almost human-voiced execution, makes up for anything lacking vocally. Indulging in the erotically dark side of melancholia, St. John furnishes sonorous clarinets, strings, and even accordions reminiscent of late summer nights spent sipping rich wines in dark grottos. In many cases, the arrangements are fascinatingly masculine, strongly holding and moving through Kate’s softer, more gently passive tones. This is not the minor key of the dark side of the soul, but rather, the seductive, dim light of flirtation, without whatever underlying, personal angst might surface in the morning. St. John sings about “the pain of love’s open wounds,” being “imprisoned in each other” and “this wasted dream” as she smiles slyly, knowing that the danger of the pain is the greatest lure into love. What is left of the “alternative” scene can spend its musical career mourning the souls St. John’s saturnine seduction has so deliciously rent.