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Reviewed by Amanda Mills

James Kohler: Somewhere Else EP

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

James Kohler: Somewhere Else EP

Late in 2015, James Kohler released this fascinating EP of mostly well-written modern alt-pop songs. Formerly releasing material under the name Paste The Sky, ‘Somewhere Else’ is Kohler’s debut under his own name, and he calls the recording “an ongoing love affair with songwriting.” Created with assistance from Jason Smith, Darryn Harkness and Edmund Cake, the clear, bright production treats the interesting touches in Kohler’s songs well. This is most evident in the fuzzy treatments on the riff of the title track, the ’60s-esque Hammond organ of Don’t Be A Stranger, and the cooing backing vocals of Alien Sunburn. Don’t Be A Stranger in particular requires more attention, the song is more swampy blues-rock than alt-pop, and has a great vocal riff and rhythmic swagger that elevates it above the rest of the EP. Kohler has a few alt-pop touchstones here, but vocally (and melodically) he brings to mind Bob Scott of The Bats, with a straightforward simplicity to the delivery of his songs. At seven tracks this is more a lean mini-album than an EP, and serves well as a taster for what Kohler might do as a songwriter and performer.

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