In the press release for Gina Kronstadt’s Come Over, it’s revealed that she’s worked with “everyone in the records, TV and film industry.” A scan through her credits reveals that’s the case, with her violin showing up damn well everywhere from on Taylor Swift’s Red to Michael Jackson’s Invincible. She even shows up on the soundtracks to flicks like “John Carter” and “Star Trek.” That her Come Over recording features violin heavily is not surprising at all, but it’s display of her jazz chops may prove compelling to those just getting to know Kronstadt for the first time.
The album is her baby from the outset, with everything from the lyrics to the production handled by the Los Angeles-based musician. Only some of the horn arrangements were put together with a little assistance, giving Come Over a very grounded feel from the outset. Beyond her obvious talents on violin, Kronstadt reveals a lyrical sense that is less poetic and more conversational. Her word choices are engaging and easy-going, while her enunciation and flow makes communicating those lyrics a matter of fluidity and fun.
Musically, Come Over is a jazz workshop of sorts. There are gauzy arrangements like the title track and there are entertaining jaunts like the hip and swinging “Twitter Stole My Boyfriend.” The latter reveals Kronstadt’s humour and modern cool with a cheeky set of lyrics and a cadence that settles in like a relative who just won’t leave. This somewhat ungainly groove holds, though, and Reggie Hamilton’s upright bass pumps through with Gary Novak’s drums to make it interesting. There’s also a slick, street-lamp muted trumpet solo from Walt Fowler to contend with.
“When I started writing the material for this project, it wasn’t with the goal of putting out a recording but more to express my thoughts and emotions,” says Kronstadt. “My own private therapy.” That therapeutic bent soaks into the approval-seeking melodrama of “Tell Me (Or Not),” a lush treat that benefits greatly from Luis Conte’s percussion and waves of plucking violins. Kronstadt’s song construction is on-point and everything flows as it should, with John Beasley’s keys and Bob Sheppard’s flute sounding the right notes. The slinky “That Night” is another hit. Once more, Kronstadt’s emotional literacy forms a valuable component. The blend of Beasley’s Fender Rhodes and John Daversa’s clever trumpet gives it a blue-lit R&B feel that speaks to late nights in neon nightclubs.
Come Over works because Kronstadt knows how to paint scenes and tell stories with her words and arrangements. She is decidedly L.A. hip, a songwriter more than capable of crafting imagery of the morning after, the night before and the tweet that roared.