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Blue Kite -"Ways of Knowing"
"Ways of knowing" is the latest release from Oxford band Blue Kite, their fourth since 1998. Labelling themselves as a studio project,they produce left-field pop with a sullen and atmospheric edge. The band is made up of an eclectic group of musicians who, between them, have got a number of instruments and musical styles covered. There are just three songs on "Ways of knowing" but each sounds suitably different from the other.
The haunting opening bars of the title track set the mood for a lot of the CD: chilled out with a slightly melancholy slant. The song is enriched by the melodic keyboards and close vocal harmonies. Blue Kite's vocalists, Kate Garrett and Pete Lock, share the singing between them and often complement each other brilliantly with the main tune and the counter-point blending and weaving together.
Thankfully, for a band whose concentrations are in the studio, the songs aren't over-produced, but have a striking simplicity. The band sound most together on the second track 'Chase Away the Moon', which is a great song played confidently. lt is this track which most stands out from among the three, with its strong opening percussion and smooth folk-pop feel.
Many of the lyrics are unremarkable, occasionally grabbing your attention with neat rhyming patterns or striking metaphors, which works most effectively in the sun chasing the moon in the second track. Other than this, the words give us little to think about. The mood captured in the music isn't captured in the lyrics in quite the same way, which means a song can pass you by without you remembering what it was about.
But this doesn't necessarily matter if you enjoyed the sound of the song. For entertaining songs that are easy to listen to, Blue Kite do well. It's the kind of music you can put on as the party winds down, or just as something to put on at the end of the day. Although it's not always possible to feel excited about this band as the next big thing on the music scene, it's worth crediting them with not sticking to a samey formula, but giving each of the three songs its own sound. The flute works well on the second track, and the third,"Disappointed"includes some effective jazzy trumpets.
Blue Kite describe themselves as "a musical collective" which is a kind of arrangement they benefit from well in terms of mixing various types of music together. Following in the tracks of a band like XTC, who left live music to record it instead, Blue Kite describe themselves as "a studio project". Given this, it is strange that the band haven't been more prolific: a new full-length album perhaps? If Blue Kite are aiming at producing engaging, left-field pop, then they largely hit their target. Unusual, often catchy songs which have a certain charm to them. Blue Kite are worth checking out,and although they're a studio band, have started playing gigs more regularly.