BlackBook Premiere: Dreamy New AJ Lambert Single + Video ‘Kimmi in a Rice Field’

When we had the unparalleled privilege of interviewing Nancy Sinatra in 2004, she enthused how her at-the-time-new self-titled record, which included collabs with Morrissey, U2 and Thurston Moore, was the brainchild of her very well connected daughter – who obviously also possessed very good taste in music. Seventeen years on, and we still have Nancy’s version of Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker‘s ‘Don’t Let Him Waste Your Time’ on endless repeat.

Of course, it’s always a shame to not put such good taste to its ultimate essential use – and thus the daughter of Nancy and granddaughter of Frank Sinatra, one AJ Lambert, is finally putting out an album of her own. No surprise, the music has much more to do with the aesthetic proclivities of the icons of post-punk than it does with anything that was going on during Rat Pack era Vegas.

First came her haunting, PJ Harvey style update of Nina Simone’s ‘I Got it Bad (And That Ain’t Good)’. But her newest single is a significantly more obscure cover, an interpretation of the curiously titled ‘Kimmi in a Rice Field,’ which BlackBook enthusiastically premieres here. The 2011 original, by NYC indie stalwarts Mr Twin Sister, was described at the time by Refinery29 as, “if not quite a nightmare, certainly weirder, more anxious.”

But Ms. Lambert’s version is a much dreamier one, opening with a spot on lift of the beat from A Flock of Seagulls’ ‘Space Age Love Song’. It then quickly evolves, however, into what seems like the bridge between early ’90s shoegaze, and the Britpop that would soon follow it – yet a little more delicate than both. So yes, imagine, say, Echobelly as produced by Cocteau Twins‘ Robin Guthrie. (The melody also delightfully recalls George Michael’s holiday classic ‘Last Christmas’.)

Lyrically, it is rife with spectral enigma – but it may just be a slightly elusive mediation on the big grey area between life and death.

‘Kimmi runs, the field is alive
It swallows her whole body, she fights
Dead alive, together
In their rice field, together’

The accompanying animated video is done in a charmingly beguiling anime style, and quite effectively visualizes the emotional tenor of the song itself. Ms. Lambert explains how she was determined for it to stay true to the original narrative.

“One of the reasons I do so many covers is that I love how one’s personal perspective of a song can make it sound vastly different,” she reveals. “But I really wanted to make sure the video told the story Mr Twin Sister wrote, which is a ghost story that seemed to cry out for animation. Robert Capria and Actuality Films did an amazing job making Kimmi and her sister come to life. So to speak.”

It’s taken from her wistfully named Manhattan Beach, Swept by Ocean Breezes album, which will be released this coming February 11. Frank would surely be proud.

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