I saw Kacy Hill live at Splendour In The Grass 2016 on the back of knowing two songs of hers. Going into the set thinking her sound was maybe a cross between James Blake and Montaigne, I quickly realised I was doing her an injustice in comparing her to any other artist (irrespective of the class those acts may have). Here on her debut album, Like A Woman, she sets out to find her own spot in the alt-pop world, whilst relying on her golden vocal chords to help set her apart just that little bit more.
For the uninitiated, Hill had previously worked as a backing dancer for Kanye West during his Yeezus run of shows, and upon hearing her vocals, was signed up to his G.O.O.D Music label. While West is a polarising figure at the best of times, you can’t knock his ability to pick out talent. In respect to the album, West works as an executive producer, and his influence doesn’t go unnoticed. With the soulful presence felt on earlier Kanye albums, Kacy Hill has paved a path where her tunes are as equally simplistic and ballad-esque as they are straight out love afflicted pop songs.
Album opener and titular track “Like A Woman” is downbeat and led purely by Hill’s vocals and a simple piano backing. It’s juicy R&B that leaves the listener wanting more. “Keep Me Sane” models itself off “Like A Woman”, as it floats delicately for its duration.
The absolute stand out tracks on Like A Woman are lead single “Hard To Love”, and a slightly reworked version of “Arm’s Length” (from 2015 EP Bloo). “Hard To Love” is a straight out pop smash that is the exact opposite of its title. While the contents of the track is effectively a tale of a loss of love and trust, it’s a soaring single that would make any serious pop act just a tad jealous that they weren’t the one releasing it.
“Arm’s Length” was one of the tracks I knew heading into Splendour last year, and a year on it’s still as great now as it was then. “Arm’s Length” is the track that Hill showcases the depth and variety in her vocals the most on, as the track enters into a near Sia-like vibe.
A complete reworking of early single “Lion” goes close to finding its spot in any dramatic cinematic release you could think of, while “Say You’re Wrong” longs for an even playing field within a relationship that’s gone sour. Album closer “Am I” does its best to tie together some of the loose ends that Like A Woman unfortunately has. The only slightly negative note I can make is that the album does struggle to flow through out its 40 minute run. But when assessed in the way that music is consumed today (as singles, rather than the long play format), it really isn’t that big of an issue.
Like A Woman is a strong debut from Kacy Hill. While it still leaves of plenty of opportunities for growth as a performer, the main thing to take away from this debut is that Kacy Hill is a serious talent.
Album Score: 8.0 out of 10.
Like A Woman is out now.