Ken Michaels

The Last of Its Kind

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For an indie singer/songwriter working on becoming more known, Ken Michaels was bold in his assertion that he was perhaps "the last of his kind." But in a colorful, trippy way, he was just that, daring to go against the grain and take a production approach that is part 1960s Pet Sounds, part 2007 electronica, and just a bit folky. And just as future yet retro, he figures out how to express everything, in less than two minutes, at least on two tracks: the hypnotic "Little Fish," which blends filtered vocals, hypnotic jangling guitar and Beatlesque backing vocals; and the contemplative "To Lose," which backs his haunting piano chords and low breathy voice with spacy electronica and backing voice textures which create an anthemic effect. Michaels is a more effective songwriter than brilliant vocalist, as catchy romantic hooks like "So So" and the shuffling "Up and Down the Aisle" attest, but he seems most interested in creating an intriguing vibe that takes the listener back decades but in a trippy, strange and fascinating futuristic way. It's not a journey for everyone, but those who dare to dream of things like "Little Fish" and "Summer Love" will get it.

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