Mr Bones - Kevin K (Realkat)
Kevin K's nailed what he does. And that's make monstrously good rock and roll records. If you agree and you're a fan, pride yourself in the knowledge that you've found out what the rest of the world has yet to.
Is this a nine-tune album or a 27-minute mini-album? Doesn't matter much and nor should it bother anyone that, stylistically , it's on the same path as the last three releases. The transplanted New Yorker (he divides his time between France and Florida) grinds out grimy, street anthems with lots of guitar and (in this case) a huge bottom end.
No surprise then to see Kevin's French bass player Patrick Klein twiddled the knobs, but have no fear - the guitar edge is never buried but left exposed and raw. Speaking of, The Real Kool Kats, the Franco backing band, appears to have shed a second guitarist, at least for this recording, which leaves it all up to Mr K. "Mr Bones" doesn't suffer for lack of six-string raunch (or from too many overdubs). More albums should sound this good and unencumbered by the studio shine that idiot record companies love to apply.
Like the best rock and roll, it's simple songs, for the most part built upon a gnarly riff or two, played without affectation. Check out "White Trash", almost relentless in its mid-tempo thud and grinding guitar figure. There's the odd detour along the way - "Crack House" chugs along at breakneck pace and would be almost radio-friendly if the cute chorus wasn't about, uh, a Lower East Side crack house. A cover of "Up to My Neck" will please Acca Dacca fans (I'm not one of the millions but I'll tolerate them, just to keep the peace). I'm not familiar with the acoustic "Cherry Vanilla" but it sits well as a change of pace.
Some take issue with Kevin K's vocalising, tagging him as another Thunders soundalike. That's a lazy call and sells the guy way short. It's also drawing a long bow to compare the pair as guitarists because there's not many intersections other than they both hail from NYC and played the same dives.
The galling thing (still) is that Kevin's largely an unknown quantity in his homeland - although a smattering of shows in the US in 2004 at least put him back on the map after extensive time in Europe.
As an aside, it was heartening recently to receive email from another Aussie who was busy spinning Kevin K discs and charging his glass. If only a local label would pick up the licensing, we might get a sniff of a tour.
If all of the above is enough to convince you that it's time the rest of the world caught up with Kevin K, this disc might just be the best place to start. There's more than enough flesh on the bones to keep you satisfied and the rock and roll heart is beating strong.