Style: alt rock
Label: Run For Cover Records
Members: Andrew Shiraki "Koji" ~ guitar/vocals
Guests: Matt Warner, Brad Vander Lugt ~ n/a
Ron Gilmore ~ keyboards
Colin Gorman ~ guitars
Ned Russin ~ bass
I honestly can't say that the music on Crooked On My Mind does much for me, as for my 30-something old ears it sounds like the typical modern angsty quasi-romantic or at least heart torn alt rock that lands far too often at my doorstep & repeatedly fails to arouse much of my interest. If it was a step closer to the post-grunge movement I might take more interest. The biggest problem I have with so much of this genre & Koji is no exception is bad singing & cliched lyrics that are trying to be poetical but without lasting substance. Now, some might say one needs to give his music time to let it sink in, but I argue against this PR stance. If I'm not grabbed in the first listen what's the chances I'm going to give it ten or twenty more listens before deciding if I like it or not? I'm already giving it at least four or five listens just to write this review. Or, put it another way, how many times is someone going to stream a song on itunes before deciding to buy or move on? Not many. I know one guy who wrote off Christina Aguilera's entire Stripped album, I was with him at the time, because the first song opened with an extended keyboard part that he didn't like & he never got beyond the intro as he was looking for dance music not keyboards. & this guy is a professional funk bass player who downloads stuff on itunes without paying much attention. There's too much music out there to give something repeated listens to let it sink in before deciding it's not right to buy. So, I've already found this style of music not grabbing me through numerous bands, so Koji has an impossible wall to climb. Okay, sometimes a band throws out a witty lyric, but for the most part I find this music over emotive & in the end empty. But, I feel compelled to review Koji because he is doing something different on his debut & that I can wholly appreciate & support, even if the result isn't to my interest. I've tried to review things on this blog that are different, even if that means its not music I personally am going to listen to again. I'll give the kudos where I see them, explain why I don't give more applause & leave the rest to other reviewers. Some of you may know Koji from the Warped Tour & without doubt his music is hard to forget because he takes the current alt rock style & transforms it to acoustic guitar with intricate rhythmic textures. It brings a whole new ambiance to the music. It may not be any more textured or more rhythmic than any other band, but when every note comes through uncluttered by solos & distortion that puts the music on its head for a new listening experience. I just sadly don't think the singing or lyrics are that interesting. The whole album is kept musically simple with the acoustic guitars always prominent & accessory instruments adding sparse texture without clutter, lifting this up from a coffeehouse moment, including a few electric solos, violins, funky basslines, backing vocals & keyboards. Providing the array of sounds is a cast of players from La Dispute, Balance & Composure, Title Fight, Gypsy & Lauryn Hill's band. For those curious Koji describes himself as a Japanese-Filipino-Spanish-Portuguese-American.