What does it sound like?:
Kinobe are back! I know. You never realised they’d gone away but here they are with their characteristic smooth sound, soft testing the market with a four track EP before releasing a full album later in the year. Originally, they consisted of school friends Mark Blackburn and Julius Walters. They had a ‘chill out’ hit in 2000 sampling Engelburt Humperdinck called Slip Into Something More Comfortable. Since then, they’ve made a living with soundtracks for film and adverts. Now, after an eight year hiatus, Blackburn has been replaced by Chuck Norman and they are releasing new material.
There is much to admire in their music. It is beautifully played and carefully constructed. The bass bounces gently along, guitars and keyboards pick out nice lines and there are lovely string washes. The rhythm is measured, toes are tapped, heads are nodded. It is possible to dance slow to it, but Firebird is probably best appreciated in a reclined position.
The title track features Rich Hale on vocals. He has a touch of the Donny Hathaway about him and a nice line in humming. Lucy Chapman sings on Excess, leaping across octaves with impressive ease. The other two tracks, Heartstrings and Looking Up, are instrumentals. There are nice videos available for each track, featuring lots of slow motion. Excess works best with Lucy, herself, resplendent in a red dress and bare feet, moving dreamily through the city at night.
However, Firebird is just too lovely. It glides by the ears so serenely, it is barely noticeable. The hooks aren’t sharp enough, the melodies aren’t particularly memorable, the choruses lack any kind of traction and the playing is far too discrete. There are elements of funk, but they are spotlessly clean, it’s soulful without any real emotion and slinky rather than sexy. It is the aural equivalent of candy floss, sounding more substantial than it is?
Firebird is perfect for Smooth FM’s playlist.
What does it all *mean*?
It is possible to capture the sound of a luxury cocktail lounge.
Goes well with…
A spiral zest of orange and plenty of crushed ice.
Might suit people who like…