Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kevin K - Joey and Me.

Kevin K
Joey and Me.

New York-bred, Florida-based, most popular in Europe (natch), Kevin K has walked a taut wire between NYC gutter punk and sunnier L.A. power pop for decades. Tough and tattooed, but with a heart on his sleeve that beats like a thunderstorm, K combines catchy, almost sugary hooks with back-alley slimed street rock better than nearly anybody, baring his soul on almost every track of Joey and Me. without apology or embarrassment. Boasting both a winsome vocal style and a classic Les Paul Jr. guitar sound, K easily fits a snarling tribute to his early daze (Smack and Swasticas [sic]) right next to a lovelorn pop elegy to his recently diseased cat (the title track), and neither sounds out of place. One minute he casually tosses off lines like So you still like anal (from the perfectly concise Out With the Wrong Girl) and Standing on the corner wearing my girlfriend’s clothes (in the classic-chord-progressioned Sno-Daze), the next he’s sneering/pining I don’t have a clue/How to live without you (from the blunt Cried Over You) and declaring All I care about is I’m with you (in the celebratory You’re the One). For political commentary, K both pays tribute to and takes the piss out of the American obsession with Big Tits and salutes WWII vets in Omaha (whose acoustic guitar/synth arrangement makes it the only tune that sounds out of place). K closes the record with a near-perfect one-two punch that points his talent in new directions: I’m Dead Already, a gently melancholy acoustic pop song, followed by the pensive postpunk guitar rock of Runnin’. Essentially summarizing everything good about his vision, Joey and Me. is Kevin K at his very best.

- Michael Toland
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