Kimbra gives new album preview at Observatory in Santa Ana

It’s been four years since New Zealand pop and R&B singer Kimbra released her last album. On Thursday night at the Observatory in Santa Ana, she proved that the wait for new music was worth it, as she played a handful of songs off her upcoming new record out this April. The show was also the last of a brief tour for the singer.

Kimbra played seven of the 12 songs from her upcoming record Primal Heart, which will drop April 20 via Warner Bros. after being pushed back from a January release date. She kicked off her set with “Version of Me”, an extremely cinematic synthpop track that feels like it could have been an M83 collaboration.

You can always count on Kimbra coming to the stage in a flashy, unique outfit. I remember seeing her for the first time at Coachella 2015 in an outfit that my little niece would have gone nuts for. She wore something Thursday night that my niece similarly would have found to be the coolest thing in the world, a glittery outfit of sorts.

Much of the new album was co-produced by John Congleton, who worked on last year’s underrated Nelly Furtado album and has been a producer on a number of solid indie projects. The new songs Kimbra performed Thursday night saw her flex her voice over a more minimal production than what we came to know from her on the critically-acclaimed The Golden Echo in 2014.

Kimbra is for those of us pop music fans that like a lot more than just a catchy hook, those of us who want real artistry. She closed her set with the Skrillex co-written and co-produced song “Top of the World”, a song that is begging to be remixed and thrown down in infinite EDM sets by producers in 2018. It’s a rally cry of a banger, and a perfect way for Kimbra to wrap up her set Thursday night.

“I’m on top, I’m on top, I’m on top of the world / See me run, see me run, see me run with the girls,” Kimbra shouts in the chorus. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing her on top of the alt-pop world for years to come.

Photos by Alan Le