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Album Review : Ten Kens - Ten Kens

  • Written by  Kenneth McMurtrie

Since Arcade Fire's arrival on the international music radar, you'd perhaps have expected more Canadian bands to achieve a wider audience - but clearly that's not happened as yet.


Toronto's very own Ten Kens may then have a struggle to become a household name in the UK, but if so then it won't be due to a poor quality debut album for sure. Calling to mind at times varying combinations of The Sadies, Mogwai, Jesus Lizard and The Folk Implosion they conjure up a mix of styles seldom heard all on the one release. Tracks such as 'Downcome Home' and 'The Alternate Biker' sit pretty much in a garage variety alt. country vein, whilst third track 'Refined' goes down the route of near-screamed vocals and ends (way too soon) with a repeating riff that could be quite devastating live.

By the time you get to 'Spanish Fly' the heavyweight side of the band is again in evidence and being given some pretty monumental production - definitely another tune that shows them as more than capable of holding their own against those sonic shock troops and JAMC homagists A Place To Bury Strangers, with whom they're currently on the road in Britain. Soon enough though 'Prodigal Sum' slinks onto the speakers with a lightness and jingle in its step that is almost enough to have you checking you're still playing the same cd. The fact that no song here is similar to the one before it is the first immediately clear thing about the album & the main fact behind it only taking a couple of listens for me to get into it - on the whole very accessible with no loss of depth.

Yet another good release on FatCat, this is a well put together product from a band with a lot of promise and the potential to do even greater things. Given how touring schedules seem to work I'd expect them to be about in the UK again around next summer so that will probably mean a few festival dates - they definitely deserve your time at those more than some of the more established acts likely to be on the same bills.

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