Friday, August 5, 2011

Ko & The Knockouts - Ko & The Knockouts - 2002

Detroit's Ko and the Knockouts come charging out of the gate on this, their debut record, with a storming garage rock track, "Cry No More," and never let up after that. Their sound is garage mixed with a little bit of psych and a little bit of soul -- maybe a little punk too. Ko's vocals are sweet and tough, breaking hearts and kicking butts with ease. Eddie, who also is a member of Detroit mod rockers the Sights, pounds out loud and mean chords on guitar. The whole thing comes together sounding like a band who loves the music they play and are having a blast. Most garage rock records can be judged on their cover versions, usually the more obscure the better. Ko and the lads do a fine job on their cover of the Birds' (Ron Wood's first group) "You're on My Mind" and honor their Motown roots by doing a Nolan Strong tune, "If I," and a Marvelettes song, "Twisting Postman." Pretty obscure and well done, too. In an unusual twist, their originals sound better than the covers. This is down to strong songwriting on tracks like "Go-Getter," with its dynamite chorus and great vocal harmonies, and "I Really Hate You," a weird hybrid of country and girl group sounds with Ko singing the bitter words with a big grin on her face. A minor weakness is Eddie singing lead on a couple of tracks. He sounds fine with the Sights, but Ko is so dynamic that she should take all the leads. This is a great debut. -AMG


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