Album Review: Unbuttoned - Electric Kingdom

Thursday May 24th, 2012

By: Cancon

From playing every Open Mic and Jam session in the GTA, to releasing various tracks online, Toronto's own Unbuttoned released their first full solo effort entitled Electric Kingdom on May 16th via Bandcamp.

Knowing the vast array of musical influences Unbuttoned are under(pop fusion,r&b,soul the list goes on), it was very interesting to start playing records off the project to see where it led.

The 7 track EP plays like a theatrical show coupled with a rollercoaster ride to match the corresponding emotions each track brings.

Starting with Something Wicked, the eerie drums and ominous synths lay the stage for a somber tune with honesty and straight forward questions and resolve, where the lead singer and writer Casey Manierka-Quaile asks :

"Love

Why can't I read you anymore
Why can't I see you anymore
Truth
Why can't I touch you anymore
Did i say something that made you walk out that door"

With the chord changes, Unbuttoned flourishes and with the same note, introduces the icing on the musical cake: Kamilah Apong, the female vocalist heard in and out of the Electric Kingdom. A man's voice is only as compelling as the background vocals accompanied by it (ask Barry White’s Ghost) and that what makes Unbuttoned work as a well oiled musical machine

As the CD continues it takes us to the Illegal Photography & Friends-assisted single This Feeling. 

This record is a simple lyric feel-good record with complex rhythms and changes that play out like a party progressing from good to amazing. Miles Gibbons’s drumming skills flourish from the beginning with the percussive intensive portions to the second half of the record where things get funky with the helping hand(s) of Bassist Jonathan Milner. It’s easy to see why this was chosen for a video and promo for the album.

Things slow down after the party as if dealing with the aftermath in Play On Pain. Casey gets somber and his wails almost serve as cathartic as he sings of a relationship (or at least on the surface seems like) gone awry. The poignant writing brings the imagery to life, and the airy backgrounds of Ms Apong in tandem with the filtered Piano of the bridge accent the message.

Every record on the album brings new elements to the table musically more than anything from the twinkle synth and the radio chorus of Cold In The Summertime to the introduction of Kamilah on a solo verse and the classic guitar strumming sounds in Ruler Of The Sun. Casey's production and arrangement skills ooze in every track, leaving no stone unturned in terms of song direction and musical palette.

Unbuttoned first effort is short in track length(ep)and may lack depth for some, but at the end of the day every genre of music isn't for everyone. With that being said, Electric Kingdom has something for everyone and is guaranteed to live on your ipod for as long as their kingdom reigns.

Rating

/Out Of 5 Leafs

Staff Picks:

"Play On Pain"  "Ruler Of The Sun" "Nightlight"

Download Electric Kingdom

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Tags: albumreview, cancon, electrickingdom, news, unbuttoned

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