Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ken Stringfellow - Soft Commands - 2004


Ex-Posies frontman Ken Stringfellow returns for another round of intricate pop/rock confections with the FM-ready Soft Commands. This time around, the singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist broadens his horizons with forays into Burt Bacharach soft rock, soul, and even dub. Writing and recording all over the world -- New York, Senegal, Stockholm, Seattle, Paris, Vancouver, and Hollywood -- Stringfellow has concocted a frustratingly obtuse record that's as beautiful and bold as it is shapeless and erratic. Soft Commands plays like a compilation, taking on Jackson Browne pop ("You Drew"), experimental reggae ("You Became the Dawn"), and heavily orchestrated Phil Spector bliss ("When You Find Someone") with varying results -- the latter sounds like a sequel to the Walker Brothers' 1966 classic "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore." Stringfellow's crystal-clear vocals have always been among his stronger attributes, and they couldn't be any better on tracks like the gorgeous and epic closer "Death of a City," but when he attempts a multi-note soul croon on the bluesy "Let Me Do," the cool confidence that rings true within the confines of his pop material is rendered shaky and thin by a milieu he may be better off appreciating from afar. Soft Commands is full of the intricate arrangements and clever wordplay that power pop fans have come to expect from the artist, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the serpentine rocker "Don't Die," a heavy, complex, and blissfully Posie-esque rumination on death that requires several listens before attaching itself to your brain like a remora to a shark. It's a reminder that despite the occasional deviation, Stringfellow is still capable of balancing beauty and danger within the confines of the four-minute pop song, and for fans of melodic rock everywhere, that's a damn good thing. -AMG

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have the chance to go to his show last month in Lima and have to say that it´s one of the most intense solo concerts I ever seen. He played mainly some songs of this great CD, some covers of Judee Sill and The Long Winters (included in his last mini LP). I personally ask him to play one of his first solo album, called Here´s to the Future, the perfect song to say "see ya later guys". And he did it. Hope to see him back soon to share some "Chernobyl size" papayas and guanabanas...:D

Anonymous said...

I think that "Touched" is his best solo album by far

tomg said...

Nothing works, Can you repost the record please?

Curty Ray said...

http://www9.zippyshare.com/v/10495505/file.html

tomg said...

Really amazing. Thanks a lot for everything.

PD: Your blog is great, in fact, is one of my favorites; i'm sorry that my comment in a long time was to ask for a re-up.
PD2: Zippy works fine for me. Also you can try Divshare.

tomg said...

I've been hearing the record today, and i really enjoyed it, is a good one, thanks again Ray.

ehprh said...

Can You Please re-up this. Would love to hear it. Thanks.

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