Review Summary: An impressive sophomore release from a band well worth looking into.
In looking at images of The Reign of Kindo, one is able to fully understand the full nature of the band. Pictures depict a bunch of scruffy young men holed up in a cramped room, armed solely with their instruments. This displays a very organic and natural atmosphere, as opposed to seeing them contained within a cold an impersonal recording studio. And that is the idea of what The Reign of Kindo is, as they let their creativity and ingenuity flow, rather than calculate it into a structured formula. This really goes a long way into making This Is What Happens an immensely solid affair, and one of 2010’s more impressive indie-pop records.
The one thing to remember about This Is What Happens
is that it doesn’t really pave any new ground, but rather, it proves itself as an incredibly solid piece of work with its glossy indie/ jazz-rock finish. And while it may lack true originality, it makes up for it with purely satisfying songs, and a wonderful sound and production. You can’t criticize these guys for lack of heart, because the album is full of a sense of passion and care for their craft, which is felt through the music itself.
Overall, This Is What Happens
feels like your standard indie-rock affair with some jazziness thrown in. Whilst jazz is kind of the go-to addition for many many other musical genres, The Reign of Kindo present it very well, allowing it to meld with each tune, rather than be a tacked on gimmick. The smooth jazz and dash of blues add a lot to the flavor of what makes the album so enjoyable. Added to that, the musicians are absolutely fantastic with literally every member wowing at one moment or another. Instrumentally, This Is What Happens
relies heavily on instruments other than a guitar. The guitar takes a backseat to the percussion, piano, and even the electronics and strings. That isn’t to say the album is void of the instrument, but everything else is brought to the forefront, making the band equal parts piano and guitar rock. It’s a refreshing sound to say the least, with the beautiful melodies of the keyboard really stealing the show in many parts.
And while the piano is rather fantastic, even it loses the spotlight to the album’s most impressive contributions; the vocals and percussion. The drum work here is very impressive, as Michael Caroll isn’t content on merely using a set. Caroll is also accredited as the band’s rhythm guitarist, as well as manager of the percussive elements. Yet his expertise truly lies in his works with drums and the like as he plays the set with extreme competence and skill, and makes everything much more upbeat and enjoyable. However, even more impressive than Caroll is the vocalist Joseph Secchiarroli, who is downright incredible on This Is What Happens
. His cool Dustin Kensrue-esque croon, and self-assured vocals are very much the highlight of the album, and his passion and strength demand to be heard. His versatility is great, with each song featuring something different in respect to his delivery. He, along with Caroll, really add an indelible amount of skill and character to the album.
Yet the album’s biggest failing comes from its song selection. To put it rather bluntly, there are just too many damn songs. With thirteen average length tracks, the album doesn’t seem particularly demanding, but at an hour in length, This Is What Happens wears out its welcome. Perhaps it is because of the lack of variety in the song structure, as many of the tracks feel very similar to one another, making some tracks feel unnecessary. While there aren’t any expressly terrible selections, a few lack the intrigue and poise found on the rest of the album. “Blistered Hands” is a good example of a very unnecessary track, because although it’s a very chilled song, tunes like “Nightingale” and “Flowers By The Moon” accomplish the same sound, and do a much better at it. Yet excellent songs such as “Psalm” and “Symptom of a Stumbling” fill the rest of the album, making the duds appear incredibly infrequently.
Aside from a few minor gripes, This Is What Happens
manages to be an incredibly impressive offering, featuring a bevy of alluring sounds and moods. While the jazz infused indie-rock is nothing new, The Reign of Kindo add enough personality and flair to warrant a listen. The band sounds great because they clearly love what they are doing, and the album begs for the listener to love this as well.