Toronto, Ontario-based Tamara Kent is no stranger to the music industry. Working for the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) as a mechanical royalties agent, she has lent her lyrical abilities to numerous independent projects, all the while honing her skill for a future moment in the spotlight. In 1999, the singer-songwriter joined forces with engineer/producer Neil Parfitt to form the inquisitive Minefield, a creative release for Kent that allowed her to explore her educational background in medieval and classic forms, along with her current tastes in contemporary music.
With their self-produced debut After the Ball, her moment has arrived. Kent has forged a sound that crosses a mystical Enya-like traditional vibe with modern influences resembling Dido or Loreena McKennitt, both acclaimed artists exploring a unique side of music. The music is dark and elegant, simplistic in form, and relies on the surprisingly deep character of Kent’s voice to merge with lyrics that are reminiscent of a carefully-constructed, personal diary.
The opening “It’s Too Late” is a cerebral, seductive piece that establishes Kent’s desire to examine both the light and the dark, a motif that she returns to throughout After the Ball (My light is just about as bright as that setting sun). While the melody is almost always tenebrous, the expression is remarkably countered. Kent’s strength in songwriting lies in her ability to bare her emotions without displaying pity; she is focused and unrelenting: I want to be / and I will steal your soul / it’s only up to me / and I will take it all (“Control”).
Unfortunately, Kent has decided to only give the listener five glimpses into the talent she offers. She’s forgiven, of course, for the reason that this is an independently-produced recording financed by her own strong will. Introspective, delicate, and ultimately intense, After The Ball is a strong ambient pop recording that should go a long way to help Kent and Minefield establish a presence in the music industry that they are already all-too-familiar with.