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KainAndAble: KainAndAble / Vibrations
Any band delivering their debut album to the world has to make sure that what they present as their first foray for assessment by fans and critics alike is as good as can be. So, truth be told, when a band decides that the best way to announce their arrival is to unleash two albums simultaneously, the pressure's on to deliver the goods – big time. And so it is with KainAndAble, who release both KainAndAble and Vibrations together, the first a full on electric outing of stripped back Melodic Rock with touches of Soul and Funk, the latter an acoustic collection in a similar vein.
Now if that seems extravagant, then it is, for while neither album runs to any great length, it's hard to get past the feeling that there might just be one fairly decent album in here somewhere. The overriding impression being that an inability to simply bring together the best 10 tracks leaves neither release making any lasting mark.
K&A would appear to be the pair of J. Thomas Edward and Matthew O'Keefe and the duo certainly know what it takes to construct songs that contain Rock, Soul and Funk elements and yet much of K&A feels overcooked and so "passionate" that it's almost forced. Right from the start "Get Off" has a vocal that squeezes out as much breathy emotion, that by its end you're just about worn out. Oddly, considering that this album's counterpoint collection is acoustic based, so much of what is presented here could basically fall into the same category. That said the fiery "Bed Of Roses" does introduce a touch more funky energy, although even here I'd suggest that the main vocal is an acquired taste.
Vibrations on the other hand fares marginally better, the heart worn on the sleeve style more convincing in this stripped back setting. However personally, even here, I simply can't connect with a vocal style that seems to intentionally flit around the note intended; the dual vocal moments a balancing act of near perfection and near disaster. Here the slow poignant "Short Drive" involves and engages hugely, while the mid paced strum of "MYFB" livens things up in entertaining fashion. However for every highlight there's "Hollywood In The Daylight", which is just too maudlin to hold the interest and "Never Get Out Of Here", which starts well before going downhill through a vocal that tries to enter mean and moody territory without any real success. Oddly the press kit that accompanies these albums talks of producer Tony Bongiovi's involvement with this act and yet the production feels flat and lifeless, something that with a set of songs happy to sit in mid-paced humdrum, leaves more room for the songs themselves to make up than they can cope with.
There's a lot of talent on show on this pair of albums and yet put the two releases together and there's simply more middle of the road than hidden diamonds in the rough. I'd suggest in future, even with a suggestion that there's a disparity in vibe between the two albums – the band's reason for split releases – simply concentrating on the strongest songs would have resulted in something altogether more memorable.
** for KainAndAble, and *** for Vibrations leaves the combined score below. However if this sounds like your sort of thing, I'd strongly suggest listening to the acoustic Vibrations before venturing any further.
1. Get Off
2. Can't Fall In Love
3. That's Just How It Goes
4. Better Late Than Never
5. Who Walks Beside You
6. Bed Of Roses
7. Misery Loves Company
1. Hollywood In The Daylight
4. Touch Of Your Love
5. Sooner Or Later
6. Whatever You Want From Me
7. Never Get Out Of Here
8. Short Drive
Added: December 27th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: KainAndAble online
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