Kennedy

Kennedy

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Kennedy's eponymous full-length stares late-'60s psychedelic hard rock in the eye and drags it kicking and screaming into 2002. Utilizing updated recording technology to focus his trippy pop into a more modern sound, Kennedy proves himself to be a clever student of the game. Just look at "I Love Me," where he evokes the bombastic attitude of classic rock without the self-important nonsense that often comes with revivalist bands. There are no snide references to obscure artists or condescending elitism, just a simple ode to himself that sounds admirable more than egotistical. Well-versed in the Rolling Stones' approach to psychedelia, "If Tomorrow Never Comes" is trippy and bizarre, but still sticks to the conventions of traditional hard rock when the song needs some slippery guitar work. Likewise, "Coldpussy" takes that same band's swagger and applies it to a druggy sex anthem that bounces along with a post-Pixies bassline and a out-of-left-field banjo solo. Kennedy has many faces, often balancing his delicate vocals and minimal guitar work with offensive lyrics and a layer of twangy guitars. In other instances, he steps up to the plate and roars junkie anthems over grooving garage rock without any overdubs or unusual tactics. Both sounds fit his vision perfectly, and the choice to include each aspect was a wise one on his part. Kennedy's self-titled record might be druggy, lush, and lunk-headed at moments, but it's also clear-headed, simple, and thoughtful the rest of the time. And it is precisely this ying and yang that makes it a sure-fire winner.

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