Ian Kelly R

Ian Kelly R
Something doesn't quite add up about Ian Kelly. He's a strong, bilingual lyricist with a weathered voice perfect for his serious style of rootsy songwriting. He also has the substantial support of Audiogram, the leading Montreal independent label. But something about his music is just too smooth, too polished to have any real emotional impact. Unlike the best singer-songwriters, you don't feel Kelly's music with him. Speak Your Mind is Kelly's second album, and undoubtedly boasts higher production values than Insecurity, his 2005 debut. Opening track "Wiser Man" is among the slicker songs, with programmed beats and precise string arrangements. But it's unobtrusive and sounds more suited to commercial radio than emotionally-charged live performances in the nation's concert halls. There are pleasing moments on Speak Your Mind — "Brown" is genuinely tender, while "La Terre" builds nicely into its anthemic climax — but too much of the record fails to reach those heights. (Scape)