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Sit down. Stand up. It doesnít matter, because this album has got it covered from end to end. No exaggeration. Kinionís self-titled LP is the obvious mark of amazing things to come from a band that smatters dub reverb over reggae rock in a way that is as fresh as their record labelís apt namesake. This trio understands you got to get up to get down. They also understand you got to throw some old school hip-hop in there once in a while; kind of like salting the meat.
Should it gel the way it does? Reggae, Dub, Rock, Hip-Hop? Yes. And Kinion is no Sublime re-boot (Sublime is the strongest correlation made of those eclectic sounds without having listened to Kinion, so deal with the following comparison). Where Bradley and Co. were getting higher than Hubble from Long Beach, Kinion is actually gravitating back to earth from a mescaline fueled space voyage of old. Where Sublimeís music was about feeling, grasping, and trying to ascend out of a tangible mess, Kinionís music is about bringing back that universal knowledge thatís been biding its time in the collective subconscious and applying it to the doldrums of every day existence.
The album starts off musically more astute compared to the leaning sounds found on the rest of the album. You receive baptism into the album with Freedom which definitely riffs off of Rage Against the Machine via their later, funkier work. After the initial salute, Kinion drops into Everybody, an obvious single, yet not an obvious representation of the albumís entirety. On Everybody, Kinion seems to channel Grand Master Flash and Sugar Hill Gang to produce what is a most infectious hip-hop tribute to some of the greatest lyricists of all time. Itís on this second track that itís already noticed and appreciated the different modes the guitarist/vocalist George Garces can dip his voice in and out of. He leaps from mono-rhythmic MC to high pitched soul crooner in lesser steps than it takes to make any aforementioned leaps. Heís got that truly versatile voice that ďis soĒ because it is perfectly imperfect. Its got rough edgesÖ itís not polished. Itís got grit, however. The grittiness is essentially Garces biting the grooves with his teeth and stretching it as it bounces onward. At least thatís how Iíd describe it.
And grittiness is a big part of what makes Kinionís sound unique. Once you get past these opening two tracks the album really switches gears into a much more adrift, somewhat ďreggaetonĒ, complacency. This style of music is usually marked for blending reverb and staccato pulse. However, Kinion owns it with their urban style that embraces the imbalance of a live performance that is tweaked into nuance by the credibility that comes with great craftsmanship and exercise. When you listen to the album you can really imagine the street corners these guys were loitering at; banging on trash cans and strumming on street lights (yeah, I lifted that last fragment from Doug). Itís a really fun-as-hell trip well worth taking. This album belongs in the car, in the club, in your head."- Damon Peoples at music-reviewer.com
"Very tasty psychedelic guitar work leads [Pa Lalu Paya] off and wakes every electron in my body. This is excitement, and I love it. ďI know that youíre taken in by everything life has got to give.Ē So, you caught me. And why not? Iím here for the duration, and I plan to spread the love around. The bass guitar is the star of this song. The singer sorta hangs out behind the corner, and when the lead guitar sneaks in he also sounds like heís over in the other room, tho it is clear enough. Even the drums, while understandable, are outside in the yard. The description sounds weird, but this is great entertainment Ė worth seeking out. Shoutout for the equally exciting Freedom - ďIsnít it better to educate oneself than listen to the words of a wooden professor?Ē Interesting question." - Eartaste.com
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