Ken: Stop! Look! Sing Songs of Revolutions!

Ken
Stop! Look! Sing Songs of Revolutions!
(Metropolis)

What is Ken? It’s not a person. Is it a band? Well, Ken consists of Blackmail musician Aydo Abay picking out other musicians in and around his home of Germany, arranging a week of studio time for jamming, and self-producing a CD out of this process. If you’re questioning the emotion and soul of the resulting Stop! Look! Sings Songs of Revolutions!, your suspicions are worthy – to a point.

Because then again, the album falls fairly cleanly in the genre of electronic Britpop, with new-wave keyboards, moogs and percussion filling out the sound. Ken begs the question, what is a band? Abay, ostensibly the mastermind of the project (a more apt term, perhaps), has orchestrated some ingenious pop hooks. These gems, each one of them, resemble modern bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes, with English vocals like Placebo, but make such bands sound like child’s play with their superior scuffed-edge bounciness. The other five members that make up this “supergroup” combine their experience and musical history knowledge to fabricate what turns out to be a one-of-a-kind wonder. Psychedelic hints from the Jesus and Mary Chain and Pink Floyd tussle within the guitar strings to provide a soothing texture. Band, project or realm of understanding, Ken offers a controversially appetizing blend of visionary, next-generation pop.