CD REVIEW: Kiseleff - A Sound Seal
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Techno, Ambient, Alternative Rock
Sounds Like: XTC, Depeche Mode, Interpol
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Lackluster vocal delivery, Repetitive Catalogue, Winded Songs
UK based singer/songwriter/composer Kiseleff releases his latest CD entitled A Sound Seal in 2011. This latest collection of music is a unique, vibrant collection of songs that chronicle different aspects of the journey of three of his Scottish ancestors who emigrated from North Uist to North America via Liverpool back in 1838.
The CD methodically takes flight with “Quicksilver Universe” a progressive rock crescendo delivering sonic guitar layering, driving rock rhythm & rich melodic foundation that peaks & valleys its way through to emotional fruition. This first track has a hooky chorus & impressive sonic accents. Track 2 “Savannah” shifts gears a bit with upbeat vibe, hooky vocals & heart felt vocal passion from Kiseleff. Track 3 “Kites to the Moon” delivers mesmerizing musical flow, with well placed guitar & keyboard accents & a grand slam chorus. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical influences reminiscent of classic acts like Depeche Mode, XTC, to Joy Division, & even Interpol. Overall the music is a bit challenging to pigeonhole. It's quite amazing how original Kiseleff’s sound is. There are also lush layers of melodic instrumentation & sonic touches sprinkled her & there. I would classify this music as Progressive Experimental Techno Rock with a strong emphasis on vocal melody & Low end dance grooves. Turning our attention now to Kiseleff his voice - the most impressive thing about him is he just lets it all hang out vocally. Though he may not have the greatest voice in the world he makes up for it with his feel good grooves & impressive songwriting virtuoso. He pretty much lets it all hang out emotionally on many songs, his voice is solid, & he brings a lot of passion & emotion to the table. From my personal favorite “The City Sublime” to mesmerizing “Chaos” to hooky “World” to melodic “Tightrope” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “New World” the perfect finale statement for a CD
Vocals from Kiseleff fail to grab the listener to the level the music does. It’s fair to say Kiselff doesn’t have the greatest voice in the world. He also doesn’t take any vocal risks that would indicate to me world class baritone. All songs over 4.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I wish some of the drums & bass notes had more verity & bottom end punch to them. It’s fair to say the catalogue is a bit repetitive overall. This CD also sounds extremely synthetic & sonic - lacking strong musical depth & texture. At the end of the day this CD sounds extremely one dimensional.
A Sound Seal by Kiselef is a solid statement. Song for song, note for note it has a feel good groove to it. It’s strong suit – the song for song rock solid consistency & impressive musical talent of singer/songwriter Kiselef. He is a musical triple threat & should be considered a premier talent. The music of Kiselef provides us all with messages of hope compassion & positive energy - that personifies the Human Spirit.