19 Sep 2021

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Kendall Elise - Album Review: Let The Night In

26 Aug 2021 // A review by Roger Bowie

The new album from Kendall Elise is out today. It’s called Let The Night In, and once again Kendall recorded at Roundhead.

The album opens with a good old country rhythm behind Kendall’s sultry vocals, plaintively looking for an Honest Hand with boo-wop backing vocals supporting the retro riff. I’m immediately put at ease. Firstly, this is an easy listen and secondly a reassuring segue from Red Earth. The outro is special – an increasingly desperate search and then Kendall disappears to leave her backing singers continue the refrain, where on earth can you find an honest hand? Oh dear.

I Want showcases Kendall’s 60s voice, sublime and soulful, reminiscent of Dusty as the song builds into the first of many defining guitar solos. So far, so nice; so far, so safe…..

Hang on, check out the new video, sweet demure Kendall does a Miley Cyrus and rocks hard and dirty in this raucous cover of Suzy Quatro’s Your Mamma Won’t Like Me, which is as big a surprise as it was live at the Wine Cellar two years ago. This is the song that will get the audience up and off in a live setting, and it also shows us a different side of Kendall Elise, rock chic, bad dirt girl, been down to Kirk’s Bush where her Mamma told her not to go. Your Mamma won’t like you either.

Which leads to a time for reflection, and the pressure of trying to be a musician and keeping down a full-time job, a song written during a Bic Runga song writing workshop, and Something’s Gotta Give and thank goodness something has otherwise this (writing) would not be happening. The song reflects both the dilemma and the outcome as it builds in steely determination from a question to a decision.

And now the first of two little gems, songs around two minutes long, both of which could go on, but don’t, leaving us breathless and wanting more. Who Kissed Who is a soft folky ballad, playful talk amongst lovers searching for clarity and reassurance. But before the second gem there’s a big country intro to the breakup song, maybe but not necessarily linked to the one before. Stuck Between Hello and Goodbye and a whistle, this song was sung at the New Zealand Country Music Awards, a finalist but up against Tami Neilson and Delaney Davidson. Great song, second or third!!

And the second little gem, A Kingdom, a delightfully jangly guitar intro and a double tracked vocal taking us back to folklore England and just a sweet little song which could be ten minutes long but isn’t. Existential. Fool’s gold. Something has gone wrong with he who was kissed.

Well, just get over it Kendall, the rock is back, this time no Pretenders, but You Gotta Be A Little Mad. Channelling Chrissie and Florence and Grace gives a nice timelessness. Very Slick, with a Motown feel. Another song just waiting for the band to let rip live…..

Make You Shine has an Aldous Harding intro, “are you drunk from the airport” and a quintessential country guitar moan, low then high, accentuating the melancholy, suppressing the anger, before the catharsis.

And finally the gentle on my mind title track, Let The Night In provides a reassuring support and it’s OK, it’s really OK, it really, really is (but I’m really not sure), and on that note of emotional ambivalence, the album closes out, a tantalising mix of tone and tenor as Kendall Elise continues to open up, share her journey, and shine.

This is not a departure, rather a very fine progression, a step up in the most assured journey of Kendall Elise into our ears and hearts.

Please let the tour happen soon!!

And check out my interview with Kendall on "It's a Wrap with Roger"

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About Kendall Elise

Kendall Elise is an intriguing story teller with a hint of yesteryear. With trademark quirky touches and flawless vocal delivery she has been turning heads since the release of her EP in 2017 I Didn’t Stand A Chance . Fresh from touring with Kiwi born, LA based Gin Wigmore and supporting Larkin Poe at their sold out Auckland show.
Her Debut single Heart Full of Dirt was a finalist for the APRA Best Country Music Song 2017.

Kendall Elise has just released her debut album, of which singles The Clock Tower and Valentine Street feature. The album debuted at number 12 on the NZ Music Album Charts.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Kendall Elise


Let The Night In
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Red Earth
Year: 2019
Type: Album
I Didn't Stand A Chance
Year: 2017
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Roger Bowie

Kerryn Fields - Album Review: Water
19 Aug 2021 // by Roger Bowie
At last, some 2 ½ years after seeing her for the first time and hearing some new songs, Kerryn Field’s sophomore album, Water hit my inbox (thanks Kerryn) and is now firmly ensconced in my hard drive. Now I can listen to the whole collection, and from the opening unaccompanied courageously operatic shrill, Atlantis emerges… we’ve heard this song before, the one which pays homage to Rust Never Sleeps and Pocahontas and the death wish which surges in response to the way Kerryn’s partner loves that song.
Gig Review: Graeme James @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 13/08/2021
15 Aug 2021 // by Roger Bowie
On a cool spring evening (spring always started in August where I grew up, down south) the Tuning Fork is nicely staged with a clutch of instruments neatly arranged in anticipation. The modest crowd bunches up to form an intimate cluster and a familiar face takes the stage in the form of Chris/Albi without the Wolves, or at least half of them because the willowy, billowy puppet-like figure of Pascal Roggen also joins him on half a dozen instruments more commonly known as the violin.
Gig Review: The After @ Anthology, Auckland - 12/08/2021
14 Aug 2021 // by Roger Bowie
It’s a year and a bit on and here we are again at Anthology for a night of rock curated by Andrew Featherstone and featuring his band The After. Last year we were left a bit muddled about promises of things to come and whether it would be the hereafter, but no, it’s more like an AfterFest.
Gig Review: Andrew Fagan and the Person @ Pigeon Racing Club, St Heliers Bay - 31/07/2021
01 Aug 2021 // by Roger Bowie
Down on the St Heliers strip, just a stone’s throw away from the Village Hall captured in the late 70's by the punk rockers, there sits a little hole-in-the-wall bar which is also the HQ for the St Heliers Bay Pigeon Racing Club. Pigeon Racing is an ancient sport which carries on to this day.
Graeme James - EP Review: Field Notes on an Endless Day
29 Jul 2021 // by Roger Bowie
Graeme James wasn’t planning on becoming a folk singer. Yes, he trained as a violinist from the age of seven, gradually extending his prowess to include other instruments, most prominently the guitar, and other genres, specifically folk, because the family had a band.
Gig Review: Come Together: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Civic Theatre, Auckland - 17/07/2021
18 Jul 2021 // by Roger Bowie
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was never my favourite Elton John record, even though it turns out to be everyone else’s. At 76 minutes, it was long for its day, a ramshackle, mixed metaphor affair which reflected the prolific nature of the John/Taupin creative partnership in the early 70s, seven albums in five years, too many songs and too much excitement to attempt to cull and reject.
View All Articles By Roger Bowie

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
    Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
    Ed Sheeran
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
    Glass Animals
    Billie Eilish
    Ed Sheeran
    Doja Cat
    Drake feat. Travis Scott
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem