Willem Kingma is an artist from Melbourne, Australia, who recently released Saints of the Catacombs. The album does a great job at creating a pretty original sound. It sounds a bit like the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band mixed with a trickle of Elliot Smith and maybe The Beach Boys.
The songs are short and never overstay their welcome. I loved the vocal melodies which are really the main draw of the music. The album first got my attention with “Crooked Love.” “Crooked Love” really doesn't go anywhere but I loved the minute long vocal hook which is catchy, fun, psychedelic and hopeful. The vibe continues with “Choke.” Similar to the first song the music doesn't go far from where it starts but is still this cool carousel ride of organ and cotton candy.
The western saloon piano doesn't last long enough on “The Unfortunate Tale of Allan.” “Saints of the Catacombs” felt like the first meaty song. It’s more intimate and melancholy with the scratchy vocals which perhaps were a little too upfront in the mix. Regardless, it’s a good song and well delivered.
“Hum Strum Interlude” really served little purpose. “Bones” reverts to the similar style and kind of nails it if you wanted to combine calliope music, Animal Collective and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club. “Flower” is a darker dream that has potential to turn into a nightmare. The mood becomes a little more chipper with “Mr D.Bentfeld.” “Saints of the Catacombs (Reprise)” is a little more festive and infectious than the first version. He closes the album with intimate piano bar tune “Sincerity.”
I would encourage the artist to keep going with this style and perhaps write a couple of songs that are a little more lengthy, maybe epic, as well as complex and dynamic. This was a really good album but I wanted about three songs that felt more meaty with distinct choruses, hooks and crescendos. If he could throw that in with the more sparse material I think it would make a good follow up.
Overall, this is an original sounding album and I suggest taking a listen. There is a lot to appreciate.
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