Several years ago, I caught the Portland, OR-based singer/songwriter, electronic music producer and electronic music artist Natasha Kmeto open for JOVM mainstays Beacon at the Bowery Ballroom. And as you may recall, Kmeto developed a national profile for crafting thoughtful and soulful R&B and house music-inspired electro pop informed by her increasing embrace of her identity as a queer woman.
Slated for a Friday release, Verse/Versus EP is Kmeto’s first batch of new material in a couple of years, and the material thematically touches upon longing, desire and the gray areas of a romance felt but unexpressed. Sonically, the material finds Kmeto subtly pushing her sound in a new direction, as there’s a strong emphasis on organic instrumentation — i.e. bass and sax — that help accentuate the 80s post punk influence, all while retaining the late night, Quiet Storm vibes. Verse/Versus‘ swooning and atmospheric, latest single “Spoken Silence” finds Kmeto pairing her pop belter vocals with a sultry yet atmospheric production consisting of a sinuous bass line, twinkling and arpeggiated synths and stuttering beats — and while further cementing her reputation for crafting R&B and classic house-inspired electro pop with a track that recalls Lisa Stansfield’s “All Around the World,” the song focuses on a desire and longing that’s palpably felt among both parties.