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Reed KD - The Ashes Bloom Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.25
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.25
Production 7.75
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8.25
Final Verdict: 82%
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Reed KD - The Ashes Bloom

Reviewed by: speakhandsforme (09/05/07)
Reed KD - The Ashes Bloom
Record Label: Dirty Laundry Records
Release Date: December 31, 2006

With the thirst for acoustic folk rock (and unique music in general) hardly maintaining a notable presence in the thriving sectors of today's music scene, it's always refreshing to find a band or performer that sports such a bold choice of genres. But, moreover on the concept, it's obviously a more enjoyable circumstance when the specified source has talent and can project the sound in a respectable manner. In relation to this desire for a break or deviation from musical and cultural repetition that many listeners have, it should be noted that Californian musical nomad Reed Dahlmeier is indeed out there, in his van, offering his own unique sounds to anyone willing to listen. Reed KD's The Ashes Bloom is a delicate, sedated 12-song compilation that brought forth images of Walt Whitman, barren country sides, Elliott Smith, 70s thriller Deliverance, opium dens, and other surprising pictures to my head even upon my first listen. One of the more interesting aspects of this album's conception is the variation of instruments that Dahlmeier plays, which include guitar, slide guitar, mandolin, harmonica, piano, Rhodes, keyboard, bass and accordion.

The album opens with the first track entitled, "Road Flares." This opening track hosts the general spectrum of sound that is seen throughout the album with its beginning minute sporting an Elliott Smith comparison that is so frequently associated with Reed KD, and then taking a turn towards a faster folk-rock style accompanied by a well-placed harmonica appearance. Another notable track is the fourth, "Travel Sick Blues." The song's vibe and lyrical substance really don't stray from what could be drawn from the title; it's one of the album's softer installments with quiet, weak vocals coexisting with the subtle applications of guitar and harmonica. The sixth track "You Can Call Me," is a more outgoing pop-rock song that has TRL single written all over it, with a catchy chorus that will win over the listener on the very first play. Now onto one of my favorite tracks, "Even If I," eighth on the list. Being a sucker for lyrics, what attracts me most to this song are its opening words which go as follows: "My hands are bruised from catching stones she threw despite all my pleas." A slight change of pace in the album's flow, the eleventh track, "Three Long Years" proposes a more folk/country-oriented persuasion but, personally, is one of my least favorite tracks. The Ashes Bloom finishes with "The Winter," perhaps the mellowest and delicately orchestrated of the bunch. This final track, while respectable for its orientation and how it fits in with the fading out of the compilation, left me a bit disappointed and appetent for something more. I would have preferred more solid closure.

While I generally like The Ashes Bloom, especially after the latter listens, there are some negative points that appear throughout. The most mentionable of these flaws is the lack of diversity between some of the songs; though the style with which Reed KD performs is unique, the songs themselves rarely develop their own characteristics aside from the album's norm. Another perceivable flaw in the album is the fact that the vocals are so blatantly reluctant and withdrawn. Though they are well on-key and appropriate for the songs' contexts, their soft delivery often had me thirsty for a more powerful, ambitious approach. The Ashes Bloom's production is, admittedly, slightly substandard to what you might hear from mainstream bands, but is acceptable given the relative obscurity of Reed KD. All in all, despite liking it, I really feel that the album promotes a strong sense of untapped potential. Reed KD's newest creation might have just set a precedent for many great future creations.

If you like your music soft, thoughtful, and poetic, or simply are in the market for a nice break from the recycled music that often laces the three medias, I would suggest that you give The Ashes Bloom by Reed KD a few listens. With all features considered, Reed KD is one of the better bands you might not know of.

www.myspace.com/reedkd
www.reedkd.com

Recommended if you like: The Prize Fighter Inferno, Elliot Smith, City and Colour
 
Displaying posts 1 - 5 of 5.
03:58 PM on 09/24/07
#2
deecee85
Oh yessss
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I've been spinning this album for quite awhile now. In fact, I have it in regular rotation on my ipod shuffle. Reed is a very talented and charismatic live performer. Definitely a diamond in the rough (and it really isn't that rough).
09:17 PM on 09/30/07
#3
speakhandsforme
no shame in impulse
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I've been spinning this album for quite awhile now. In fact, I have it in regular rotation on my ipod shuffle. Reed is a very talented and charismatic live performer. Definitely a diamond in the rough (and it really isn't that rough).
It really is one of the great unknown albums that I have in my collection. I wish I was suscribed to my own reviews.
12:14 PM on 02/27/09
#4
popitwithrocks
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this guy is the shit
10:19 AM on 06/25/09
#5
redmusicvan
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Howdy folks! I just released a new album. We're working on getting a review up with AbsolutePunk. In the meantime, drop on by any of the following links to check out some new tunes, videos, etc.

<3
Reed KD

http://www.reedkd.com
http://www.myspace.com/reedkd
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