Album Review
Ten Kens - Ten Kens Album Cover

Ten Kens - Ten Kens

Reviewed by
Ten Kens - Ten Kens
Record Label: Fat Cat Records
Release Date: September 23, 2008
Advertising “raw vocal delivery, driving rhythms, and heavy, reverb-laden guitars with idiosyncratic song structures,” Ten Kens had the potential to blow away listeners with a vast and diverse style on their self-titled album. Instead, what listeners get is a small glimpse of what brilliance may lie ahead for these avant-indie rockers.

With difficult to hear lyrics due to mumbled vocals, the only reason you should be listening to Ten Kens is for their instrument work. The vocals are on par with someone in their car singing and screwing up every one of the words of a song, but all at the same time coming close to singing the song correct. The lyrics for all eleven tracks can be hummed without having to distinctly sing one phrase right and you’ll be able to fool your friends that you know the song by heart. Sure, the vocals are “raw,” but if you can’t understand a word they are saying, then they are “raw” for the wrong reasons.

So this leads to the reason why you should be listening to Ten Kens: their musicianship is smartly crafted. Tracks such as “Refined” and “Down Come Home” could both be enjoyed while you are eating at a fancy restaurant. They aren’t overly complicated or intricate, but are instead intelligently put together where you can tap your foot to the song. To put it in simple terms, you won’t see high school kids hardcore dancing or attempting their pitiful moshpits to Ten Kens. Ten Kens is for a listener that enjoys song structures over a catchy chorus.

Potentially, Ten Kens could end up being one of the better bands in our industry down the road. Their self-titled album wanes at the end with tracks that blur together with not much definition between them. Once you get past “Spanish Fly” – which reminded me of Quentin Taratino’s soundtrack to Kill Bill film series – Ten Kens falters with monotonous songs that drag on. This album needed a few more standout tracks, rather than the select few that they currently present, to be considered worthy.

In the future, it’s best to keep an eye out for Ten Kens to see if they live up to their potential. But as it stands right now, they are a band that are brilliant with their song structures and have little to nothing else to offer. The first half of the CD showed great promise, but it progressively waned with each separate song after “Spanish Fly.”

Recommended If You LikeBlack Mountain; Sonic Youth; Mudhoney

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