I have come to expect every new Kennedys' release to immediately change my outlook and leave me a better person. I know that's a heavy responsibility to place on anyone, but that's how enamored I have become.
I can't say that about Closer Than You Know, a somewhat inconsistent disc gauzy with synth textures, atmospherics, and lots of mid-tempo. Maura, always her own presence and force, sounds almost Enya-like: sighing, soaring, but never quite reaching the spiritual and emotional heights that are her singular forte. Pete's cushiony musical landscapes sometimes threaten to overwhelm (smother is too harsh a word) his partner.
Since, like everything Pete and Maura do, this re-invention and well deserved experimentation comes from the heart, how do I fault them? If this venerable duo at times loses sight of the songs in service of the concept—Hey! It happens to us all more often than not.
Even when they let go of the concept and get to the guitars, Big Star Song, a "…song the girls of September wouldn't want to miss" is kind of slow motion. Stying in that vein—just imagine Happy Again, the song that follows a shimmering cover of U2's Wild Honey, reset as of one of those irresistible, Top 10 gems they create without peer. You could dance away from this disc undaunted.
All that said, I'm still giving this one to The Kennedys. They have brightened my life so many times I'm not going to chance darkening theirs for a split critic's moment. Let's just say Closer Than You Know is an interesting release. I just needed a tempo change.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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