This six-song e.p. is simply delicious. Karyn Kuhl’s been part of the New Jersey scene for quite a while (I used to see her when she was in a great Hoboken band called Gutbank – track down their Coyote Records release from ’86!); these days, she’s doing her own thing with The Karyn Kuhl Band. This tight 4-piece includes James Mastro, guitarist extraordinaire (and owner of the incredible Guitar Bars in Hoboken – when in the area, check them out); Mr. Mastro is also the producer who gives this E.P. a clean, sparse sound that resonates with every instrument and makes Ms. Kuhl’s voice just reach right into you. Alternating from soft to warm to sultry, this is absolutely, devastatingly good.
“Sad Eyes” has a dark quality about it, yet in its semi-bleakness, the guitar figures weaved in gives the song an emotional uplift; a sweeping solo in a country vein counters the swampiness of the underlying keyboard; the deep/heavy rhythm section which is easily recognizable as tight from the first beats is stellar. And on “Conjuring You”, the slightly dissonant guitar feels like something Pylon would have done (if they did slower/sedate tracks); Ms. Kuhl’s singing is just downright sexy on this as she unleashes a line like “if you could sink with me, oh how happy we would be – oh…” – evokes the best kind of chills, especially as the emotion alternates from gentility to intensity. Hypnotic and seductive – listen to that middle break with the guitar wipe out, as it drops back down into the riff. Easily my personal favorite. Clever and daring is a skewering of the classic “It Was A Very Good Year” (yes, the Sinatra song) set to a backing that is completely pinched from “White Rabbit” – you can scratch your head at that mix but it works perfectly. If anything, it gives a greater poignancy to the lyrics with such a sinister sounding arrangement and her singing is absolutely on-the-one.
I’ve given you a teaser of sorts – there are three more outstanding cuts on The Stars Will Bring You Home, but the main thing is this E.P. is too good to not seek out and buy. And that’s not bluster, either. The Karyn Kuhl Band is just that good – as is this E.P.
The Stars Will Bring You Home will be released on Friday, June 10th, 2016.