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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Kenna
Make Sure They See My Face
Interscope

Rating: 6.6/10 ?


August 16, 2007
Listeners know Kenna best from the hypnotic tingling ivory and house beat of "Out of Control," featured on the morning after Sony PSP commercial. You know, the one where the girl leaves a note saying "find me" with her PSP memory card for the dreamy blonde to track her down (the short chase ends at a Kenna concert where the two no-one-night-standers eye each other from afar).

In the spirit of the early airplay of "Out of Control," Kenna's sophomore album Make Sure They See My Face is infectious more ostensibly than it is secondhand. The album's often both, for sure. But as is the case with "Loose Wires" and "Say Goodbye to Love" - which perfectly channel David Byrne's polysyllabic delivery - Kenna's energy is never quite derivative so much as it is expansive.

"Loose Wires" is the album's highlight. Its African rhythm, silky smooth guitar, and two-part harmonies scream the Talking Heads, while the song's synth-pop style makes it almost as danceable as the first half of that band's trailblazing Remain In Light. The homage Kenna pays former new-wavers is however clouded by an unshakable grandiloquence that distances him from the close contemporary work of James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem).

The album opener, "Daylight" speaks volumes for Kenna's approach. It also exhibits the apparent weaknesses taking place therein. "Daylight" is Zooropa-esque all the way down to the Bono stadium-style vocals. It shows Kenna engaging his audience on two fronts: making the sounds large enough to fill an arena while attempting to keep the grooves club friendly. The result is that Kenna often achieves post-punk dancibility only to edge into Remy Zero territory. Such is the case with the radio friendly "Sun Red Sky Blue".

"Baptized In Blacklight" is another perfect example of what results from a combination of Edge-y guitars and Bonoesque poetics: "Blind beguiled/ Divided/ Mind is born again/ When I needed/ You entered/ You entered/ You entered/ Facing broken/ Broken pieces/ Singing hall-e-luiah." The track succeeds as a rehashing of some of the better moments of Achtung Baby, but it misses the complexity of the techno-y-driven "Better Wise Up" and all too far surpasses the cerebral simplicity of "Be Still."

Like Justin Timberlake has begun on the top-40 side of things, Kenna has the indie roots to bridge the gap between pop and everything left of center. This effort has already created some stir between the two. My only concern is that the album's lack of balance may make for a one hitter quitter.

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill

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