Published Oct 01, 2018Holy Smoke conjures up images of a smoke filled lounge, or a dive bar like you might see in Twin Peaks. Kandle Osbourne has a great, soulful voice, slightly scratchy with sultry feeling behind it. This album does a good job of putting her vocals first, but an unfortunate side effect of this decision is that the instrumentation tends to be standard, slow rock riffs.
This is effective on the best tracks of the record, like "Nobody Wants You Now," which is a great piece chastising and gloating to an abuser who has been publicly outed. Kandle's vocals are accentuated by a gospel-like choir at the climax of the song, and the result is emotional and moving.
When the subject matter is less interesting, the songs have a habit of plodding, like on "Bender," which tells the story of its title in a predictable way. When this happens, it feels like the songs are going on a bit too long, and weaknesses in lyricism become jarring, including some uncomfortable slant rhymes.
The real peak of the record comes with "When My Body Breaks," which features Peter Dreimanis from July Talk and has a strong instrumental. From that point on, the album picks up, the instrumentals become more diverse and the songs have much more punch right to the end. Overall, Kandle has created a solid record, and fans of her work in the past should definitely check this out. (Sleepless Records)