I initially thought that “Songs From An Empty Stage” was a soundtrack to some West End show that had, as they all do, escaped my attention and that Koukie, for it is she, was merely taking her time in the spotlight somewhat more seriously than most until I realised that, after the twelve songs that make up this album, that very spotlight was still shining brightly on Koukie.
From the opening chords, Koukie brings a sense of the dramatic to all that she sings. “Secret Garden” opens this album and goes over the top as if on the run from a capricious Andrew Lloyd Webber. All is not as it seems though as “A Man In A Suit” then derails the blockbuster train just for a visit to the elegant land of cabaret and, with a gleeful abandonment of irony, appears to reinforce good old fashioned values although that is soon revealed to be but a pretence with the joyously theatrical “Koukie’s Song” deconstructing the very idea with little more than immaculate phrasing and emancipated thinking. Koukie knows she is a woman in a man’s world.
The stage is never far away however and “Eclipse” keeps the curtain from coming down early on Koukie’s domination of the auditorium. Make no mistake. She’s way too classy to be a mere puppet operated by the words of others and everything she does is stamped with her very own highly disciplined mark of quality and, still fully energised, she proves that by launching “Bring It On” towards the stars.
Pure theatre, pure showtunes in a rock format, pure class. A star is born and, if I had a heart, I would willingly give it to Koukie.
The album is available from Bandcamp.