June 22, 2009

Seven Years Bad Luck

Asheville, NC
Written, recorded, produced and mastered by Michael O’Shea in his own studio in Asheville, NC

After flirting with the Chapel Hill music scene for a month as a drummer, Michael O’Shea embarked on an intense musical retreat in his Appalachian hometown, emerging in early 2008 as a multi-faceted one-man band by the name of Kinjac. Now the philosophy-student-cum-musician follows his interactive debut full-length, The Upside of Down, with a politically charged second helping: Seven Years Bad Luck. On this album – which was written, recorded, produced and mastered in only a single month – the multi-instrumental musician frames not-so-distant U.S. politics with uncomplicated melodies, aggressive live instrumentation and dense layers of varied electronic accentuation.

With opener, “The Fall,” the album dives headlong into an exciting textural landscape of edgy rock, digitized percussion and tinny synths. O’Shea rhythmically chants, “You can think what you want but it doesn’t change the facts of the matter/The only fact of what’s the matter with you/You seem to think in terms of false and true,” with an electronically-altered, dirt-tinged irreverence reminiscent of Lo Fidelity All-Stars. O’Shea’s vocals return like an unhinged cabaret singer filtered through an old telephone on “Terror.” To this he adds a contrapunto of strings that transition into bottom-heavy bass, trip-hop percussion and the album’s lifeblood, raw electric guitar. “Breaking Mirrors” follows a similar trajectory, moving from one industrial synth aggressor to the next, pulling back occasionally, and then pouring forth with slashing intensity, only to arrive at an unexpected jazz conclusion.

The album culminates with “[Wake Up America],” in which a passionate political speech criticizing economic decisions plays uninterrupted over anxious, warbling synths and rumbling, stripped-down drums. When the speaker cries, ‘Up with wages!” the music rises chaotically along with him. It’s hard to miss the message inherent in Kinjac’s beat-saturated guitar reverb and fuzzy synthesized angst. (The Solotechne Collective)
-Lulu McAllister

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