Friday, May 24, 2013

Kris + Dee: "Bloom" (album review)

Some people make music with the dream of becoming superstars.  Others make music because they genuinely want to express themselves.  The latter is definitely the case for Kingston-based Kris + Dee, the duo of Kris Abbott (The Pursuit Of Happiness) and Dee McNeil.

There's nothing fancy or groundbreaking about the pair, or their latest full length Bloom.  What you get is pretty much what can be expected from a veteran folk/roots/rock act.  The minimal arrangement and hint of twang on the lead cut "Weeds" reinforces that.

The dynamics of "Enemy" keep you alert as the vocals swing wildly back and forth between delicately vulnerable and defiant.  A bit of rock is welcomed on "Newfoundland".

The very nature of the genre means that not everything here is gripping.  Despite some noteworthy vocal harmony work, tracks like "Making Ends Meet" and the Sarah McLachlan-ish "Ghosts" can be generously described as snoozy.

The last moments on the album are also its most intimate.  The duet of "Bones" is absolutely chilling and ensure the record leaves a lasting impression.

Those who are deeply in love with folk music will undoubtedly find much value in Bloom.  Those of us who are more lukewarm on the style will find it pleasant, but we won't be wearing out the groove on the record (if it even comes on vinyl).

Kris + Dee will be touring throughout south central Ontario during the summer.

Best tracks: "Enemy", "Bones"

Track listing for Bloom:
  • Weeds
  • Enemy
  • Kite & Flyer
  • Bloom
  • Making Ends Meet
  • Newfoundland
  • Ghosts
  • Never What You Think
  • Wide Winter
  • Bones

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