Kenne Highland Klan

Gemini on a Full Moon

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Kenne Highland won't grow up, and this vintage blast of rock & roll on Dino Records might not be his best work, but it is a solid effort with their special brand of tongue in cheek humor. "Everybody's a Lyre" has a psuedo scat vocal from Highland, which stutters over Bo Diddley's eternal "Pills" riff. The lyric is a take off on how many members go through the revolving door of fellow scenester Mono Mann's bands, from DMZ to the Lyres. The spirit of late-'70s and early-'80s Boston rock & roll survives through this group, despite the fact that Highland was a transplanted Bostonian from Bloomington, IN, by way of Brockport, NY. The title track, "Gemini on a Full Moon" has a clever riff, a truncated "You Really Got Me"; it falls apart somewhere during the guitar solo, then regroups, kind of like the band onstage. These guys are pros who can turn it up a notch when they're in the mood. The sloppiness is part of their charm, and the song takes a "White Light/White Heat" journey towards its conclusion, climbing up the scale and falling into an actual cover of Lou Reed's "There She Goes Again." They actually play this song with a reverence their own tunes could use, but the point of it all is to have a good time, and to keep on rocking. "She's My Best Bette" mutates a Nervous Eaters riff into one by the Kinks and "Melt Away" blasts away with a nifty hook and sustained energy. Aram Heller's production is low-key, almost non-existent. Don't expect a major label to pick this up and give Gemini on a Full Moon polish -- these middle-aged rockers somehow manage to sound like they are still 18 and learning how to play. It's a freshness few major-league acts can muster, and it works.

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