A testament to her eclectic influences, “Jesus Christ,” the latest single from Nahneen Kula, is a sonorous exercise in the singer/songwriter’s stunning vocal work. From ecstatic highs to lilting lows, Kula–the nom de plume of L.A.-based Charlene Gibbs–fills the breadth of the song’s spacious soundscape with her piercing cries and the buoyant melody. Between it’s elastic bass-riffs and shimmering harmonies, Kula shines brilliantly as an overwhelmingly talented vocalist and organic songwriter, weaving her raw and universal lyricism throughout.
“Today is my 30th birthday. I’m celebrating by releasing our new, original song ‘Jesus Christ.’ The title is more akin to the vociferous name in vain than that cross dude, it’s difficult for me to disassociate these concepts from one another. This is where my 2000s-era 13-going-on-30 grunge-infused, cross bearing release artwork comes into play. I grew up in a super religious family. When I was about five years old I told my parents I wanted to sing on stage at our family reunion’s church service, so I did. Little did I know that would be the moment that would eventually materialize into dread and hopelessness by every Sabbath.”
~ Nahneen Kula via her Instagram
And while Kula counts among her many influences the likes of Bjork, Blonde Redhead, Air, and Wilco — she also looks to contemporaries like Melody’s Echo Chamber–and fans of Tennis and/or Mitski‘s avant-garde compositions will definitely find a new favorite in Nahneen Kula.
She essentially splits the difference between nostalgic 50s-pop style and a folk-minded penchant for songwriting, allowing listeners to layer their own experiences over her intentionally vague words. But where Kula–and her musical partner and now husband Sammy Rothman shine, is in the way their songs reject traditional structures of pop music, which the purposeful meandering of “Jesus Christ” embodies beautifully.