STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 17415-11138 LABEL: Sony CK 86959 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
I heard that originally Kenna was going to do Christian music but having got ripped off by his brothers in Christ headed off to the mainstream. Signed to Columbia Records, I'd been listening to a white label of this for positively ages as a couple of friends of mine were hired to play in his live band and were raving about it. In the end, it appears the album kind of slipped out into the market without really being noticed which is a shame. It was only recently when I was playing a track to Tony Cummings that we realised we'd overlooked to review this gem. Kenna was born in Ethiopia but raised in the USA and for this debut release Chase Chad of The Neptunes took production duties and unsurprisingly the combination of Kenna's undoubted talent and Chad's production have created something unusual yet strangely compelling. Imagine a combination of new wave, synth pop and hip-hop and you get into the musical zone but it's more than just those elements. People have compared this to Depeche Mode which is correct up to a point but it just seems that whatever direction Kenna is pushing, he goes a step too far and the results are fabulous! At the catchier end of things there's the electronic soul of "Man Fading" and the insanely catchy "Freetime". "Hell Bent" is a quieter, more reflective, haunting masterpiece and the title cut sums up the retro futuristic feel which is at the core of this album's sound. We've been a bit late getting this reviewed and I understand that Kenna is currently in the studio recording the follow up. There's a fine line between genius and madman and many artists have walked that line. Kenna deserves to be heralded as genius and become a household name though there's a danger he'll end up being dismissed as a madman and enjoy cult status and minimum record sales. Let's hope album number two sees him break out. For the moment, this still sounds fresh, exciting and new and it's definitely worth hunting down.
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