Bat-Or Kalo (guitars/vocals), Mack McKinney (bass) and Mike Alexander (drums/percussion) are KALO. They recently released Wild Change which is an eleven song album. I’ll say upfront this band isn’t doing anything that hasn’t been attempted countless times before. On that note when you have this type of delivery it doesn't matter. The band is viscerally satisfying. They know how to rock hard when they attempt it and I thought Bat-Or Kalo has a voice that was tailor made for rock.
The band opens up strong with the rocking, surf influenced “One Mississippi.” I’m a sucker for a percussion breakdown with handclaps and was not disappointed. Great opener but I have to admit “Isabel” was the highlight for me. They hit an aggressive hard rock blues vibe that is drenched in attitude. It isn't until after the two-minute mark that the song really explodes and takes off. The vocals and guitar soar.
I was a little thrown back by the flashy horns on “Upside Down” but not disappointed. The song is funky and slick and not nearly as bluesy as “Isabel.” They go back into a more straightforward hard rock blues tone with “Fix” and “Wild Change.” “Only Love” is a slow moving bluesy ballad that always sounds better at two in the morning after a couple of stiff drinks.
The energy goes back up with “Free” and the 70's funk and horns are reintroduced on “Pay to Play.” The band goes completely out of their wheelhouse with “Smile and Blush.” I’m not sure what the band was thinking inserting this pop/country track that sounded so out of place compared to the previous songs.
The band goes back into more familiar territory with “Bad Girl.” They end with the sparse “Calling All Dreamers” which felt almost as random as “Smile and Blush.”
The biggest issue with the album is the lack of focus and creative control. They attempt too many styles while not committing to any and not defining their own. It's a confusing message at the very least. I thought the hard/blues rock was their strongest songs with 70’s inspired funk coming in at second place. This reason alone is why having an experienced producer to help guide a band can be a godsend. It can not only help you stay on course but help to find the X-factor in the music that defines the band.
This band has all the talent in the world to be successful and if you approach the songs individually they are highly satisfying. They just need to sculpt their vision and find out who they are and what type of music they want to play.
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