Richard Kavanagh - End Of Tape
Owain Paciuszko 25/05/2008
Unsigned solo-artist Richard Kavanagh requests you listen to each track of his album in a 'corresponding colour', unfortunately my wardrobe is fairly dingey, so he'll have to make do with a nice neutral brown outfit/mood. Anyway...
Opener '21' is pretty standard man and guitar territory, that's a touch of the Ben Kweller to Kavanagh's voice, but it often stumbles off into that nasal-Graham Coxon territory that exposes the production limitations of home recording. Lyrically the song's refrain of 'Yeah I've changed / and I'm ashamed' doesn't really strike any chords, and just seems like words that fit the riff. 'Photo Shoot' manages to eek some heart out of its guitar during the choruses, which capture a mournful singer/songwriter quality; but one can't help wonder - despite the inclusion of some additional instrumentation - how a full band recording would benefit the songs (Kavanagh's former band The Pistachios split recently and the sound of their tracks has a looser and more energetic quality that works better with his vocal delivery).
It's the slower numbers that work best here, 'Go Without Me'mixes sweet lyrics with a nice combination of gently strummed guitar and drops of piano. Lyrically this laidback pace allows Kavanagh to stretch out and find his feet a bit more, he doesn't quite manage to craft something particularly inspired, but his choices are less stilted and insipid than on the 'faster' or rockier tracks.
Overall it's an album of fits and starts, there's potential in what Kavanagh is doing, but the tracks here need a richer instrumentation to really make an impression; and in these 'modern times' that's not beyond the realms of the home recording. The colours ultimately mix into something a touch too beige for my tastes.