Artist: Ben Kweller
Title: Go Fly A Kite
Record Label: The Noise Company
The relaxed past time of kite flying is a rather sedate hobby, that blissful feeling of guiding that colourful piece of fabric against the gentle or, in some cases, turbulent gusts of wind, is something of a relaxing experience, an experience to help you zone out from the big wide world. The latest musical offering by Ben Kweller, Go Fly A Kite, conveys elements of the same ilk, laid back Americana vibes drift along on a number of tracks like the carefree summer breeze. This is can be said of tracks ‘Full Circle’ and ‘Out The Door’ which possess a nonchalant sway in their arrangements.
However this isn’t the case throughout the record as number of songs pack a punch not dissimilar to a bar room brawl encounter. Opening track ‘Mean To Me’ is a jubilant Texan stomp built upon crashing drums and full bodied guitar riffs, equally ‘Jealous Girl’ has a honky tonk piano motif that nestles up nicely to an urgent chugging guitar throughout.
Often on this fifth LP by Kweller, the protagonist exemplifies the vocal dexterity of the late, great Elliot Smith at his most up beat, but still with shades of melancholy. Kweller has kept fine company during his career so far, rubbing shoulders with NYC darlings The Strokes, The Flaming Lips and My Morning Jacket to name a few. It would be naive not to notice that the aforementioned groups haven’t influenced Kweller along the way as their own unique American sound permeates through Go Fly A Kite.
As Kweller manages to channel the heartland of America during Go Fly A Kite, it does tend to lack that something special, the record hints at building towards that key track or the killer hook we all want from an album, but it seems to fall short of the mark. This isn’t to say the record isn’t worth your time, it most certainly is, however, where the LP could be great, it’s simply good.
Instead of flying a kite, we would replace this for a sky dive. The relaxed vibes are good, but exhilaration is what we really want.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams