I like a lot of what this band has to offer, but one element is immediately off-putting. I don’t know the personal habits of singer/acoustic guitarist Joe French. Nor do I know them for his band mates, brother Al French on guitars, Rob Grieve on bass guitar and Mark Steele on drums. What I do know is that I wish he’d find a way to relax more. His unsettled vocals are all that separate me from wholeheartedly recommending you immediately pick up a copy of Kalimoto’s debut album, Multicore.
I’m still going to recommend it, only with a caveat or two; the record has grown on me with repeated listening. And three or four of the songs have lodged themselves in my brain. Stand out tracks like “Easy” show much of what’s right on this record: Offbeat music backing French’s for-once restrained, almost wistful voice singing a should-be radio ready melody. “Tuned Out” starts optimistically with an infectious guitar part, but French’s too-sharp-for-my-liking vocals return in force here.
However, if the rock writer Chuck Eddy is right and album-ending songs predict the future, Kalimoto’s next album should be worth waiting for. The sweet (dig that harmonica all-but buried in the mix during the fade) “Seventeen” is the most atypical thing here, and one of the best sounding tracks on the record.
This is, in many ways, the epitome of the promising first album, which is a lot like a promising first date•if I recall correctly. Much is suggested, but only time can tell if your hopes will be realized. I suppose I like Kalimoto enough to ask for a second date, and hope there won’t be hurt feelings on either side if it doesn’t work out. I wonder if they’ll call.