CD REVIEW: Levi Kreis - Imagine Paradise
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Kreis brings the mojo...........and some"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Dance-Pop
In 2010, Levi was presented with the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor In A Musical for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Broadway hit Million Dollar Quartet. Over the years Kreis has released 3 CD’s. For his new and latest CD “Imagine Paradise” Levi went directly to his fans for financial support. The response was overwhelming and the connection runs deep: all 12 of his songs are based on stories told to him by backers of the project.
The CD kicks things off with passionate "Timeless” a melodic jazz driven intro groove that’s serves up well placed rhythm section, infectious musical groove meshed with emotionally charged vocals from Kreis. Track 2 “Any Way You Wanna” serves up a smooth moving pop piece with infectious dance groove, melodic musical flow coupled with hooky harmonies and impressive vocal accents from Kreis. Track 3 “Taking Back my Boogie” shifts gears with its slamming Mo-Town style vibe eventually lending itself into an amazing musical piece meshed with impressive soulful melody from Kreis that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. As the CD unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of Jamiroquai, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Justin Timberlake, Boyz to Men, Back Street Boys, Maxi Priest, and Boys Club. Right from the start you will notice Kreis and company feel quite comfortable just letting it all hang out musically, not holding anything back. Besides the 4 piece standard the overall musical vibe has a nice, melodic poppy, hooky feel to it. The musicianship from all the other members of the band has everything you would expect from a world class release. The musicianship is rock solid across the board as Kreis and company dish out impressive jazz guitar playing, impressive piano, well placed percussion accents, organ, keyboards, string accents meshed with lush harmonies all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. Kriess' has got the look and solid vocal timber and is full of passion and recklessness abandon. He's got all the vocal skill sets required for this genera and demonstrates an impressive vibrato, power and a solid falsetto to boot. The songs themselves are consistent musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair and signature groove. The production quality is rock solid with crystal clear high end clarity and solid low end punch. From heartfelt “All Over Again” to grooving “Deeper Love” and “Love Revolution” to infectious “4 Letter Word” to heartfelt “Never Will I” his CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 11 Reach Into Your Soul (Dance re-Mix). The perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Kreis has all the vocal skill sets necessary to be professional singer within the Pop realm. However some of Kreis’s vocal performances are a tad over the top reminiscent of a powerful stage singer. If I could say anything to Kreis right now – during some of the slower moments dial back the intensity just a bit, ride that pocket and build your emotional delivery as the song builds. Save that power for the finale moments within the Pop realm. This will create a more vocal peak and valley throughout your songs. There is nor copy write date anywhere on the CD - not typical of Industry Standard releases. Kreis is probably among the 1% of guys who can pull off the cover art photo shoot.
In close Imagine Paradise by Levi Kreis is an impressive 12 song release. If he has a slam dunk live presentation then that would be a deadly combination no doubt. My hats off to Kreis, his huge fanbase and his strong Production Team for brining all this together. The songs are extremely consistent, melodic, passionate, funky and highly entertaining – and clearly prove Kreis brings the mojo..... and some.