Monday, March 14, 2016

KKIDSS “Candy” (Rok Lok Records)




The warts-and-all approach, in my experience, when applied to music recording usually means a couple of things. First, there’s a sense the artist has so much to do and say that they can barely wait to learn how to use a proper studio or scrape together the cash to afford to book time at a professional one. Second, the songs might not be quite finished – maybe they’re sketches in need of a sounding board, like an audience. Third, the rough technique may be the desired medium, in that the artist is in such a raw emotional state that the only way to really convey that state is to present their inner turmoil in a tangible way. Or maybe they just dig on tape hiss, what do I know.

Anyway, Kkidss, the bedroom indie-folk pop outlet of Canadian songwriter Christopher Edwards, may encompass every single one of these characteristics for all I know. Many songs are half-formed, recorded to what sounds like a boombox, and executed with a kind of wild-eyed enthusiasm and barely contained energy. Candy doesn’t sound like Guided By Voices, but it sounds as if it were recorded the same way as one of their earlier albums. It does sound a bit like Bubble and Scrape–era Lou Barlow, or Bubble and Scrape–era Thurston Moore or Billy Corgan, if either of those guys had started Sebadoh instead of Lou Barlow (and let’s face it, if that were the case, there would be no room for Jason Loewenstein). Think of the bedroom folk albums those guys would make.

Edwards punctuates the lo-fi with short bursts of full-band song, such as “Blush” or “Soft Vein,” both of which take on minor Sonic Youth elements (clean, down-strummed guitar chords on the lower strings mainly), or maybe they’re more Swirlies-esque in their non-noisy way. All of this is good stuff – Candy is an engaging listen from start to finish with most songs clocking in at less than two or three minutes, and at eighteen tracks, that helps to keep the listener’s attention. It also bounces around stylistically, with very few songs sounding the same. Hopefully Edwards has another shoebox full of song ideas that he quickly fleshes out enough to put to tape.




--Ryan Masteller

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