If the name "Kaity Dunstan" rings a bell, chances are you recognize it from Australia's edition of "The Voice." Though Dunstan managed to pass the blind auditions with her rendition of Melanie's "Brand New Key," she was eliminated from the competition in the battle rounds. The Melbourne native now goes by her new moniker Cloves, and has teamed with famed English songwriter/producer Justin Parker (Bat for Lashes, Sia) to pen her first EP XIII, which is due out on August 17.
"Frail Love," the first released track off XIII, is a wistful ballad that immediately makes one thing very clear: Cloves is a hell of a singer. Keys from a tempered piano dip throughout in soft strides -- audible, but always yielding to her vocals that conjure a stirring presence from the moment she hangs on the first word that's sung. Her voice soars in the chorus as she croons with a despairing falsetto about the weariness of being in a one-sided relationship.
There are times when you wonder whether something might break the sparseness at some point to give the song a bit of a lift. But "Frail Love" remains subdued and at no point becomes superfluous with additional instrumental accompaniments. A string section or a warbling synth could very well work with the composition, but Cloves' vocals are more than capable of carrying her debut with just the support of a piano -- anything more just seems unnecessary.