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Karl Smith

karl

 

Kites

LittleBigMan Records

With a catalogue that has spanned a couple of decades, Karl Smith was championed by John Peel and all the while remained an anti-rock star figure. Having fronted bands such as Thermos Cardy, Sodastream and Lee Memorial, the birth of his first child gave him the confidence and impetus to release aan album under his own name.

Kites finds the well-travelled singer comfortable in the surrounds of his home studio. When the sounds of Smith’s faithful instrument (the guitar) was likely to wake the little ‘sleep thief’ in the house, he took to writing portions of Kites on keyboard which shaped much of the album. While organ and keys are prominent in songs such as Glass Eye, there is still enough discordant guitar to give the album some weight.

After Mr Morrison is probably the most unique tune that Smith has recorded to date. With enough brass to make the Polyphonic Spree uneasy, Smith mixes obtuse melodies with harmonies that would have been at home around the Manson Family campfire during a five minute stretch that wraps more ideas into one song than some do during a whole full-length.

Smith has lost none of his pop smarts with a collection that is unnervingly more complex than would be thought at first listen. Kites is one album that any an artist should be happy to put their name to.

_ CHRIS HAVERCROFT

 

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