REVIEW: KERO ONE – EARLY BELIEVERS (2009)
“It seems like it took forever for that sun to shine…” follows the lead on When the Sunshine Comes, the second track off of San Fran’s up and coming Kero One‘s sophomore album. Dropping from his Plug Label, Early Believersattempts to wrap up all those anticipated feelings of the upcoming season in a record sleeve to let loose on every backyard barbeque bash. It’s hitting the streets right on time too, with all those plants popping back up, the grass coming out of hibernation, and trees filling in.
Early Believers mixes as many genres as Kero One tackles record duties. Though blended together, the tracks retain distinguishing elements of funk, hip hop, and soul-based jazz thanks to clean production. As a producer, he’s the ever-conscious host of the shindig, knowing when and where pieces should be placed to ensure a smooth flow. Nothing is crowded or muddied, as on the free wheeling jams like Keep Pushin’ and Bossa Soundtrack. The album’s guests appearances get equal treatment; featuring Portland’s Ohmega Watts, Finland’s Tuomo, and the UK’s Ben Westbeech. All but the first play the supporting role, a minor setback due to Ohmega’s refreshing verses on Stay on the Grind. Though as the summer heat can drag, as can some of the songs; all topping four minutes. In all honesty, it would be golden during a live set, though slips on an album like on This Life Ain’t Mine. You can zone out to the BPM because of it, realizing later on that tracks had snuck by.
Summing up the carefree nature of his second album, Kero rhymes “…but if I fall, then at least I made the effort…I wanna hear something that’ll bliss my mind, spirit a soul, and motivates me to shine.” He accomplishes this from the first downbeat to the jazzy finale. As people start pounding the pavement to better weather, Kero One’s keys and rhymes will brighten even those humid, rainy days.