29 Feb 2024
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James Kohler - Single Review: Lights Out

07 Dec 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

As a rule, I read press releases after I have been listening to the music, but as well as Lisa sending me this to review, I was also sent it today by the PR company and I read that email before I realised it was on my list. However, my interest was already piqued as James Kohler is described as an “independent prog artist”. Now, while those in NZ who can be bothered to read my scribblings will think of me as someone who has an opinion on pretty much anything musical, people in the wider world will think of me as a specialist in prog rock as that has been where I have been spending much of my writing career over the last 30+ years, and there are probably only a handful who have written as much on the underground scene as myself.  

I have no idea about the rest of James’s output, but I can safely put my hand on my heart and say this is not prog, and given what most of the music-buying public think of the genre that is a good thing, as what we have here is a modern rock number channelling Neil Young, which is simply excellent. It is only a fraction over 2:30 in length (a giveaway that it is not prog), but it is perfectly formed with some wonderfully layered guitars, nice bass runs and melodies, solid drums, and harmony vocals when they are needed. James’s voice is lower than much of Young, but there is something about this song which means one can imagine him performing this with Crazy Horse. It is stacked full of passion and emotion, and leaves listener wanting more, much more. We get some nice noodling guitar near the end, when we have a nice wall of sound with different sounds being utilised, and his voice over the top before it ends quite neatly. I am certainly keen to hear more of this country/grunge number which could easily have come out more than 20 years ago and feels strongly American. Nice.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About James Kohler

An established member of Tamaki Makaurau's rich music scene, James Kohler spins effortless nuggets of prog-pop/indie psychadelia.

His body of work runs deep, with plans to expand on his output with a never ending bootleg series.

His studio album Will and Way is due for release early 2023. Speckled with brightly shining pop hooks and natural musicianship, his lyrics detail a spiritual journey amid the increasingly materialistic and nihilistic culture of our times. Will and Way is an honest plea towards fighting inner peace, without losing the spirit to live the good fight in this life.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for James Kohler

Releases

Time Won't Be Kind
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Somewhere Else
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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