Keith A/B – Unbridled Optimism
Innovative textures and instrumentals are matched to quirky vocal melodies to form some intriguing songs by this solo performer; some of which verge on epic, notably the opening track “We’ll Send Our Sympathies,” which is supported by relentless rhythm guitar and a positively eerie horn-like refrain. The tumultuous churning in the back of “Your Mother Needs a Man” fails to completely obliterate the rather sweet, almost poppy vocal melody delivered with a degree of intensity which creates an interesting sensation of dissonance, literal and cognitive. “Capital S” is instrumentally deliberately jarring and angular, with over-miked guitar thrumming layered in back of Keith A/B’s almost sing-songy vocal melody. (Think Patsy Cline’s version of “Tennessee Waltz.”) The end result is an almost nightmarish ambiance, as the vocalist ominously declaims “You will tremble/ You will tremble/ You will tremble like a leaf.” Of the remaining songs, the repetitive “An Hour a Day” seems like a misfire; “Fortune Cookies” is a brazen, poppy rock song but otherwise not particularly innovative; “One Bad Egg” is an anodyne wistful ballad. But the first three songs are strange and wonderful. Recommended.