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CD REVIEW: Robin Kelly - Black Ice
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Robin Kelly
Genre: World
CD Review:
Interesting. Weird. Haunting. Specifically, I'm not sure how to describe this one! I haven't heard much like it, so it's hard to compare. I could compare Robin Kelly to himself, but where would that get us?

I love Robin's voice. It's rather a counter-tenor, much like 2 people: and I can't remember either of their names. Great review, huh? One's a big black guy with a high voice. The other's the lead singer in a popular 80s band, with a high, odd voice. But RK has a clean sound, soft stuff that's great in headphones. For instance, 'Black Ice' is a good traveling song with simple acoustic guitar and bass in the foreground, and a jazzy electric guitar way in the back putting on a show.

The song that sticks with me most is 'Sarsen Stone'. Possibly because it is one of the Strangest sounding things I've heard yet. I don't mean it's experimental. But just the sound of the high sleepy voice along with that mandolin which creeps underneath. Spooky. World music right out of New Zealand. If this is the norm for NZ, I wanna go.

While 'Crying Shame' is much like the black/blueness of the 80s sound I almost mentioned above. Listen to this at 1 am or after. It is essential you do this to soak in all of the mystery and creepiness that invigorates this unknown classic. Well, classic might be strong, but it's a song that will stick to your shadow.

I'm still not sure what genre to say, unless 80s-pop-folk. But that's not really right. I'm afraid this is 1 occasion where you can't take my words for it, you've just got to listen to Robin, who is Well worth the trial. Good acoustic performances. A strangely rich darkness that amazingly Never makes you depressed. How is this possible? How can he get AWAY with it?? I don't know.


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