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CD REVIEW: the Francis Kim Band - The Orange Concern
By Steve Allat - 11/02/2004 - 01:16 AM EST

Artist: the Francis Kim Band
Album: The Orange Concern
CD Review: Label: Independent - Nucular Ranger Records
Tracks: 12
Released: 2004
For Fans Of: R.E.M., Elvis Costello, The Grapes of Wrath
Fav Tracks: If You Push Me Hard Enough . . ., Luminescence, Letting You Go, Where You Belong.

Despite being a four-piece quartet, this feels more like a 'singer/songwriter' disc, both in material and in delivery. Even though there are 4 playing, one stands out, and that is of course, mr. Francis Kim (it is his name on the project, after all).
The vocals provided by Francis are good - smooth and easy to hear - but not exceptionally noteworthy, mostly due to a little lack of emotional punch. I think that's the missing ingredient for me on most of the songs. More backing vocals/harmonies on the choruses' and as needed would add a new layer and depth to already developed melodies.
The basic sound of the band consists of a solid strum backed by electronic reinforcement and a light overall groove. I have no complaints, just a request for more, and more up front in the mix.

Songs are nice and short, to the point. Sometimes a bit melancholy or flat. Other times, sunny and delightful. 'Luminescence' rocks nicely. 'Letting You Go' features the best vocals and instrumental variation on the CD. 'Where You Belong' delivers the most heartfelt voice and melody.
Overall, there are a lot of great ideas and elements - it sounds to me like these songs could be honed to be either a little catchier or performed with a bit more energy. The playing follows the melody fairly strictly instead of playing off it and creating interest in it's own right. I'd like to hear a bit more adventure from all the performances. The songs would grow and expand nicely.

I get the feeling that they didn't get captured quite the way they sound live, as is often the case.
Still, a great start for 4 these guys from Boston.

Contact: Francis Kim
Website: the Francis Kim Band

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