By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Kevin Bowers is perhaps best known as the drummer for local trio the Feed, but his solo outings prove he's a singer-songwriter with a skill for arrangements and a penchant for genre-hopping. Nine Story Building, Bowers' second record (which is exclusively available online at myspace.com/kevinbowers) never settles on one sound. Most of the songs work on a rock beat, but the addition of horns and auxiliary percussion keeps the songs from becoming stale. "Desperation" kicks with a bit of new-wave energy and fun, falsetto background vocals which would make Prince blush with pride, while "Dirty Business" keeps the funk-rock vibe going with an organ-heavy groove that recalls the Meters at their most fervid. While these songs don't fall in the jam-band category, these songs recall no group so much as Phish, with Bowers' slightly bemused singing style resting atop the shifting musical styles.
Bowers plays many of the instruments on the album, but his Feed bandmates drop in as well: Dave Grelle adds a rhythmic piano part to "Destiny Falls Over," and Ben Reece's woodwinds add color to the more Latin and jazz-inflected songs. Of these, "Possibility" is the most fun, with Reece's flute and Bowers' congas creating a breezy vibe that's ready-made for hammocks and cocktails. For all of Building's precise arrangements and expert musicianship, though, it sounds like the vocals were an afterthought — they're often hard to hear over the music, and nearly all of his vocal performances could have been helped with a little studio sweetening. Either way, Building is a reminder that, now and then, you've got to give the drummer some credit.
Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.