In the history of progrock, there have been any number of attempts to infuse pop into a genre that resisted it pretty mightily, even though the style predates the genre itself (we usually called it psychedelia and such). From the mediocre efforts of Episode and Citadel to the titanic releases of World of Oz, Kayak, and Art in America to the puzzlingly successful work of Ethos, the two styles seemed fairly immiscible save for the superior brainworks of such as Ton Scherpenzeel, Pim Koopman, (both resident in Kayak, the latter the son of a classical music conductor), and sundry others, few and far between. Then came the splashy success of the Buggles and things opened up. Well, none of this is exactly what you're getting here but the background figures in.
In the last so many years, more than a few releases fell nicely within the purview as it continued to grow. Daniel Park's These Illusions, for instance, remains a rather singular effort despite obscurity, and this band, The Reign of Kindo, takes a tack even closer to mainstream orthodoxy while infusing sources from Brubeck to Metheny, arriving at a kind of, well, chill-chamber, EZ-jazz, lightly progged rock-pop (that catches on fire in Out of Sight, Out of Mind and a couple other cuts) falling comfortably within no definite mode while satisfying them all. That understood, you'll not evince surprise when I tell you that, after a successful debut landing them at the #5 position on Billboard's Heatseekers tally, they ended up at the CandyRat label's doorstep, the latest in the prestigious instrumental venue's sorties into vocal musics.
"Blistered Hands" catches a strong tang of the magnificent Michael Tomlinson mixed into a happily wistful cello background while City Lights & Traffic Sounds brings Bruce Hornsby to mind, Joseph Secchiarolli's voice hopping from one timbre to another. In more than one way, Happens is a sophisticated modernized revival of Tin Pan Alley into the 90s and 00s. Reign of Kindo would not be out of place opening for Sade, as a Joe Jacksony Las Vegas / NYC nighttime neon component rather than Paris foggy, the penultimate Soon It Shall Be almost muscular in its evocations thuswise. Don't fall for the disc's liner art, intimating that you're looking at some kind of electronica release, 'cause this ain't Stereolab or Kraftwerk, though neither is it Tony Bennett or Kenny Loggins. In fact, probably the best intro is to duck over to YouTube and watch any of their several very cool in-studio videos. These way talented guys—they remind me a bit of Izz live—are armed to the gills with chops and verve. I mean, catch the Santana jam passage in the middle of Just Wait—yow!
Oh, and anyone who remembers the very unknown extremely melodic prog band Sebastian Hardie or Peter Mayer's To and From cassette (sadly never re-released in any other form) is going to flip out hearing October's Storm. It's not on this disc, but a stunning vid is right there in YouTube, waiting to rock you back in your chair.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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