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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Alright Alright


Review by Gary Hill

The main singers and songwriters of this project are husband and wife duo China and Seth Kent. While this outfit, to a large degree, is about that duo, there are other musicians here adding to the sound. In much the same way, while this at its heart is pure folk music, there are other elements that augment that concept throughout the set. This is a release that works really well, in part because there is a healthy helping of variety built into it. More than anything else, though, I think it's just the sense of genuine art and honesty that sells it.

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Track by Track Review
Little Girls, Little Birds
I like the piano melody as this cut comes into being. As the vocals enter I'm reminded of some of the dreamier pop sounds of acts like Muse and Oasis. This also has links to some of the moodier modern prog. While the female vocals drive the first part of this, the male ones enter in a harmony mode further down the road, bringing another angle. I love when the track changes gear to a more energized movement later, too.
The Liar
The male vocals start this one. The music is based on acoustic guitar. The cut is a stripped back folk tune that calls to mind Bob Dylan a bit at the start. Some electronics and other elements come in after the first verse, lending a different angle to this. I love the vocal harmonies on this track. There is a dreamy element to the more powered up stuff further down the road. After all the powered up stuff, it drops it way back down to the opening section to end. That said, there is a burst of electronic texture that serves as the actual closing shot here.
Too Much
Piano brings this into being. As the arrangement fills out there is an old school country meets gospel kind of vibe to it. It's a slow moving piece led by the female vocal. This is very down-home roots music based.  The are some more powered up parts of this cut further down the road, but the basic concept doesn't change much.
Whisper Your Name
Another set well in the acoustic folk vein, they stick with the female vocals for this tune. It has some intriguing instrumental work and is effective. It earns a definite parental advisory for the lyrics and even has a bit of a punk edge to it somehow.
Gulf Coast Highway
Coming in slower and even more down-home in nature, there is a lot of country music in the mix here. While the first verse features the female vocals, the second one is sung by Seth Kent. They both handle the singing on the following one. This really feels like something that would have been at home in the 1940s.
Be Kind
Piano and classical strings make up the main musical concepts as this starts. The vocals (China Kent) really soar. This gets more impassioned and powerful further down the road, landing again that Muse or Oasis territory.
By the Bed
A mellower cut, the country elements are back in line on this cut. Seth Kent's vocals drive this, but China Kent provides harmony/back-up vocals. This is very much a roots styled number. They power it up more further down the road, but that same old-school sound still dominates throughout. This is a classy tune.
Luckiest Girl in America
The arrangement on this is essentially China Kent's vocals and piano. That said there is a slow moving electric guitar solo later in the piece. This is a roots based balladic number that is full of emotion and style.
My Jesus Carries Me (Featuring Katelen Champion)
Acoustic guitar, piano and voices make up the arrangement here. While I like the verse that Seth Kent sings, the interplay of guest Katelen Champion's voice with China Kent's is the real selling factor here. That's magic and really elevates this piece.
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