Album Spotlight: Kevleb - "Kevleb"

>>Kevleb is a live experiment by one-man band Kevin Le Blevec and is a wild ride of genres and language.

Live is not in the usual musical sense here, as if he is playing all instruments live. The connotation meant is ‘Alive’ as if the music itself isn’t something that Kevin is making, but is using him as a conduit. It’s like he mixed up the French and English language, along with punk, folk, jazz, pop, and traditional in a laboratory, test tubes atop Bunsen burners exploded and suddenly the music was born. It took over Kevin and created Kevleb.

Gloire might be the albums greatest example. It starts as a simple alterative sounding pop song, with an easy beat and nice repeating guitar riff. The French lyrics are at once beautiful and soothing, fitting charismatically into the ripples of drum and bass. Two minutes into the track you think you know what you're listening to, but then there’s a sudden West African inspired beat that kicks in with a harmonica. But it fits and isn’t as jarring as words make it sound. When the guitar kicks back in so does the chorus.

In typical fashion on the album, the very next track is a folk-rock ditty, this time in English and French, harmonizing vocals and neat and simple pick and strum. The music is clean, well recorded, and well performed, outside of a few timing glitches that can easily be overlooked by someone not scrutinizing for a review. Kevleb’s voice is raw and emotional with a well done falsetto on many tracks, especially Comme Si Je Devais Mourir Demain, a Johnny Hallyday cover that stays pretty close to the original, with the Hallyday’s synth strings replaced by Kevleb’s searing guitar.

Je Remercie (y’all) is yet another surprising track on the release. Starting and ending with an angelic chorus of voices, it’s pure hip hop, complete with a beat boxed beat, subtly endorsed by drums. It’s in French, but you need not know the language to enjoy the added percussive sound of his voice. It’s another surprising twist on an album of surprising twists.

Kevleb describes himself as an “experiment...using different formats, styles and codes from American and French musical heritages exploring the musicality of languages.” This could not be written more succinctly or tell the story any better. Kevleb sounds like an experiment, one that is controlled by a talented scientist ready to make a gigantic discovery. It will be interesting to see this experiment change, warp, and become altered by outside forces such as playing a live show, getting more and different instruments, or adding more layers. This is more than a side show though and deserves the credit and recognition for putting forth something that certainly does not sound like anything else.