The formula behind the Carpenters' albums was starting to get fairly routine -- a hit single and an oldie or two (which sometimes was the single) surrounded by some well-produced soft pop/rock, driven by electric piano, strings, and a guitar solo or two cropping up. "There's a Kind of a Hush" and "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" are the two most memorable tracks on this pleasant, well-sung, and well-played, but basically bland, album, A Kind of Hush. There are virtues here -- "You" has a good guitar solo by Tony Peluso, and the vocals on "Sandy" are radiant, but this record was where the real rot began to set into the Carpenters' fortunes, in terms of remaining connected to rock. Instead of covering Leon Russell's or Carole King's contemporary material, they're doing songs like "Can't Smile Without You" -- the latter is very sweetly sung by Karen Carpenter, and gets a lyrical but spare arrangement from Richard Carpenter, but they needed something more credible to the under-30 audience (and especially material that, if not attractive to guys in that age range, at least wouldn't make them self-conscious about listening to it with their girlfriends) on this album, and it wasn't here. If you close your eyes, it's possible to imagine Captain & Tennille, not to mention Debby Boone, taking lessons from this release, although Karen's voice was still beyond comparison with any of them.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder