True genuineness emanates from the very start of Out of the Patch, the first full album release from Kelly Cheats. “What You Say” features minimal editing and post-processing, instead letting the raw sounds of the band, competent and free from any alteration, prevail. A casual swing rhythm and tight harmonies within the instruments and voices are essential to Kelly Cheats’ sound, especially in the second track of the album “Isabel.”
The soothing, sweet style of the album becomes more intensified and aggressive in “Out of My Hands,” a classic rock tune featuring the silvery vocals of Trent Dipner. Many times, the lead vocals make or break a band, and in this case, Dipner adds greatly to the band’s value, tone and accessibility. His voice borders between raspy, gravelly belting and smooth, harmonious crooning, and he continually shifts between styles with agile ease.
Most of the album is sustained by bluesy guitar and accompanying piano, bass and percussion. “Need to be Released” incorporates a hushed background track depicting a quiet restaurant scene, giving the song a live feel with an aural environment of talking, laughing and clinking silverware. It is simple, unique touches like this that sets the music of Kelly Cheats apart from similar bands.
John Mayer-esque “Under Your Skin” builds upon a simple, haunting melody, adding elements from soul, R&B, as well as pop and blues, which eventually aggregates into the most catchy song on the album. This song embodies the perfect balance between energy and unwinding relaxation that Kelly Cheats seems to find in all of their songs.
The eleven-track album concludes with “Happy,” a knee-slapping, high-spirited song unrelenting in its positive emotion, and “Turn the Lights Down,” a beautiful, content tune that slowly fades out as the album comes to a full and complete finish. All in all, this album is a pleasure to listen to, and its slight variations in style give the album enough momentum to carry listeners all the way to the end.
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