MGF Reviews Kessler – I Know Your Voice

Kessler – I Know Your Voice
Adrenaline Records (7/8/08)

On first listen, Kessler basically comes across as Fall Out Boy Version 2.0. And if you were to base your opinion on the first handful of tracks off I Know Your Voice, you’d probably be right. But the band manages to have this slight edge on the melodic rock offerings that hark back to older Spitalfield material, or maybe a little bit of Something Corporate (bands that never hit the big time like the aforementioned Fall Out Boy).

“Love Is War” (with its overly cliché lyrics: “Love is war and you’re worth every fight”) … “Bravo” (which happens to feature some nice, driving guitar work) … “Outside Your Window” (featuring some nice melancholic riffs) … every track just seems to pass by with little to note. It surely doesn’t help that the vocals of lead singer Mike Mitchell sound so similar to those of Patrick Stump.

It’s around the sixth track (“Perfect”) where the band starts to get a footing and begins giving the music more of an air of originality. From the stinging urgency of the guitar work during the verses, to the desperation seething through the chorus, they finally seem to figure out what they want to do. And it doesn’t hurt that the vocals change up enough to finally start sounding unique.

And they follow that up with the piano-driven “Where You Are”. The anti-ballad (or should it be un-ballad?) slows everything down and gives the band a chance to shine with the melody instead of the rock (though the aggressive guitar work around the chorus adds a nice touch). The band continues that melody through “Run Away”, a more rock-oriented track with underlying piano work. It would have been nice if the group chose to have the piano be the hook for the entire album, to set Kessler off from the umpteen other bands doing this type of music.

The rest of the set plays out using a mixture of the now-established methods of attack, though special mention should be made of the acoustic guitar work on “Dallas” (though much more would have been welcome).

In the end, I Know Your Voice is a good enough first effort, but the unique moments that crop up midway through the album, if incorporated more, could have made this a much better outing. Once the band embraced the piano, the album became much more interesting.



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