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Kinny, Rod: Forces Of Nature

Surrounding himself with some of the best musical talent in America's North Midwest area, multi-instrumentalist and singer Rod Kinny delivers his debut album, Forces Of Nature. In an age when most bands and musicians are desperate to showcase all their talents, all the time, discovering an album that really is all about its songs and the mood they create is something of a rarity. Deeply steeped in a Westcoast/AOR sound from years long gone, Forces is exactly that, a set of songs recorded for the love of it and coming straight from the heart. Therefore, that Kinny not only handles guitar and bass, but also vocals, makes perfect sense, the lyrics personal but taking in a far wider scope. In truth it isn't always the right decision, a good but never quite great vocal tone and attack falling just a little short in a genre that often relies on its frontmen to make the truly lasting mark. To be fair, for most of the album the vocal efforts are decent enough and certainly performed with an understanding of the style, but they're just never quite the stand out element music this relaxed can need.

A rotating cast of nine other musicians add everything from guitar, organ, drums, flugelhorn, trumpet and pedal steel to the main man's excellent four and six string displays, and from the off it's the arrangements that impress. The clever use of brass in the title track a real ear snagging aspect in a song the rocks gently while keeping everything intentionally smooth. With "Unconditional" adding the tug on the heartstrings that only pedal steel can provide, it's a slow, deliberate album highlight. "Feargal Sharkey" the song, not the Undertones man surprises by keeping that same countrified edge and ramping it up with a little understated banjo picking action. However, with the album's intention clear, it wouldn't have hindered to alter the pace on occasion, a set of eleven songs often wandering dangerously close to being just too similar in outlook, even with the clever little variances that have been added throughout. Just as full on rock needs a ballad or two to change the setting, so Westcoast can need a rocker to intensify the more heartfelt approach. That said the melancholic David Gates like "Summertown" captivates with its beauty and poise, while "Movie Of Your Life" does likewise in a simple acoustic guitar and voice setting.

I can understand Rod Kinny wanting to be the voice behind the interesting and involved lyrics he's invested his heart and soul into. However, after spending quite some time with Forces Of Nature, I can't help but wonder what someone like Per Sundell of Grand Illusion or Daniel Andersson of State Cows could have infused these laid back atmospheres with. This is still an album that could easily help you lose an hour or so on a lazy sunny evening and one that reveals hidden depths as you dig into its heart, but it's hard to escape the feeling that it could have been so much more...

Track Listing
1. Forces of Nature
2. Rock Where I Stand
3. See the Stars
4. Unconditional
5. These Times
6. Truth Vibrations
7. Feargal Sharkey
8. Crystal
9. Summertown
10. They Don't Know
11. Movie of Your Life

Added: December 9th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Forces Of Nature at CD Baby
Hits: 1317
Language: english

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