Last year Marcus Kihn released Lascivious, which we reviewed here at The Equal Ground. The record was beat heavy with a prominent low end. Vocals were sparse as were the guitars. It was a sweet combination of trip-hop, electronic music and even new age. Kihn is back with an album entitled Forward Gaze, which is far removed from Lascivious. In fact if you didn't know it was the same artist you probably wouldn't come close to guessing it was Kihn. Forward Gaze breaks out acoustic and electric guitars, lot of lyrics and songs that have more in common with folk, Americana, funk and pop rather than trip-hop. It’s a bold deviation but Kihn has the tools and talent and pulls it off.
The songs on Forward Gaze are the kind that gets stuck in your head. You might catch yourself humming some melodies without knowing it or having to listen to a song on repeat. The bottom line is Kihn delivers a batch of catchy songs while flirting with multiple genres quite successfully.
The album kicks off with “Living More,” which is one of the highlights on the album. Kihn combines accordion, guitar, vocals and bass into a comforting, warm cocoon of sounds. There is certainly some melancholy but also a good amount of solace, which makes for a winning combination. The song sounds like a distant cousin to “Norwegian Wood.”
“She Came Back” is a pop song that has traces of the Beach Boys and surf rock. It’s an upbeat song with stacked vocal harmonies, solid guitar riffs and organ. The third track “Monkey Man” is a sensual, lush yet slightly funky tune while “Run” reaches epic heights that can draw comparisons to Pink Floyd.
The album ends with a sparse yet emotionally heavy song entitled “Slow Down.” Kihn strums his guitar lightly while singing lyrics that yearn for change. He sings, “always worried/never happy/what's the point of hanging around.” Forward Gaze is a good album showcasing another side to Kihn’s talent. I hope Kihn hangs around for a long time and keeps making music as good as this.
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