First things first—Desiderium may be the most charming record of 2011. It’s not without its faults, that much is sure, but I’ll be damned if my heart wasn’t slightly warmed with every listen of Kindlewood’s debut record. Everything from the minimalist, pseudo-folk instrumentation, to the absolutely sublime vocals just screams charm, and the album is all the better for it.
Kindlewood taps into a Joanna Newsom type of vibe, where vocals take the spotlight over the humble acoustics. Vocals being the major draw here, Kelci Smith has an absolutely stunning voice. Self assured and fantastically confident, Smith makes the most of her talent, giving the entire package a down home sort of country vibe, whilst being wholly exotic all the same. That being said, the rest of the album does not cower in fear of her commanding presence, as Desiderium has plenty of musical chops. There’s a lot of variation to be found, as well as musical experimentation. It isn’t a straightforward folk affair, not in the least, as stylistic shifts keep the entire thing staying fresh. Strings mingle with acoustic guitar, and modest percussion wraps everything together nicely. It’s a tight, concise musical achievement, and one whose missteps are few and far between.
As wonderful as Desiderium truly is (and trust me, it really, really is), it can’t escape a few faults. For starters, it meanders far too often, getting trapped in an almost stagnant trap as it sometimes sounds to homogenous for its own good. And although it was stated previously that the rest of the band is incredibly impressive, I can’t help but feel like, at times, they bow under the weight of Kelci’s powerful vocals. These moments are few and far between, but they are worth mentioning nonetheless.
Despite the very few missteps, Desiderium is an absolutely charming, lovely affair, and one which really should be heard. Kindlewood have really hit one out of the park with this one, making not only an impressive debut, but one hell of an excellent album overall.
Check it out here!
2.In the Clearing
8.Dangerous is the Sound
9.Wrung & Possibly Broken
10.The Trouble Is
11.Where Tales are Told
12.The Golden Tree