Kane Strang is a musician from New Zealand who has played in bands but he always seemed to have an itch for writing his own music. This seems to be the case with a lot of people in bands whether for mere self-indulgence or just to try something different. For better or worse the artist usually feels it’s some of their best work. Since I haven't heard Strang’s other bands I have to say his solo work is pretty impressive. His latest effort entitled A Pebble and a Paper Crane was recorded in an old World War II bomb shelter and strictly from a production perspective sounds really poor. It’s really lo-fi, the drums are barely audible, the guitars are shrill but still the songs are exceptional. HIs voice and the melodies are what carry the album. Strang has this 60’s type Beatles-esque voice that feels nostalgic as well as carefree.
The songs on A Pebble and a Paper Crane are essentially pop songs that are really well written and have a dose of originality. They don't break any barriers but if you want to hear a good tune just start with the first track “Love Letter For A Trend Setter.” It’s a song that tips its hat to psychedelica but also has a garage rock type of feel. Either way if you can get past the poor production the song is one of the highlights on the album. “My Smile Is Extinct” is a delightful pop that revolves around Strang’s voice. The instrumentation works just fine but it’s the vocals that pull you in on this one. “Dead Successful” has a bit more emotion than some of the other songs while “Peacock” is arguably the best song on the album. The album closes with “Rhododendron.” Since the song just features Strang’s voice and guitar it was easier to hear his lyrics and tone. I’ll be damned - his lyrics are unique and his voice is even more attractive because I could clearly hear it.
The only thing holding back this album is the production. If it was even 20% better, it would make a pretty big difference. That being said the songs are sweet so go and take a listen.
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