Kon Kan


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Canada's Kon Kan scored with the engaging pop and club hit "I Beg Your Pardon" in 1989 and followed up the single with the consistently entertaining album Move to Move. Vocalist Kevin Wynne left the group shortly thereafter, leaving composer and multi-instrumentalist Barry Harris the sole member of Kon Kan. Harris released Syntonic in 1990, assuming lead vocal duties and using session musicians and background vocalists in an attempt to broaden Kon Kan's synth-pop sound. Unfortunately, the irredeemable Syntonic was a miserable failure, both artistically and commercially.

Syntonic starts out well enough with the catchy dance single "Liberty" and the irresistibly goofy "(Could've Said) I Told You So" (which cleverly uses a snippet of Jimmy Soul's 1962 hit "If You Wanna Be Happy" in the same manner that "I Beg Your Pardon" incorporated the Lynn Anderson hit "Rose Garden"). But the album goes downhill -- WAY downhill -- from there. Ridiculous attempts at contemporary soul in tunes like "Victorious" and "Victim" (which includes an appearance by former Rough Trade vocalist Carole Pope) showcase Barry Harris' vocal limitations, "I'll Find Another Love" is an unintentionally funny stab at Latin dance pop, and "Time" is a hollow rewrite of the hit "I Beg Your Pardon." But even these songs are better than the horrendous ballad "Heaven Knows I'm Missing You," which sounds like it came from a karaoke bar, and the senseless "My Camera (Oh How I Wish)," which could qualify for the stupidest song of 1990.

Barry Harris wisely discontinued Kon Kan after Syntonic's failure, finding minor success as a member of the dance trio Outta Control before forming the prolific remix team Thunderpuss 2000.

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