Band: Any Kind
Album: A N Y K I N D
Release Date: February 14, 2012
Free mp3: “Never Seen Anyone Out There Like You” (’til March 1)
I have had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with this debut from a new band made up of veteran Chicago musicians.
Any Kind contains almost every member of one of my favorite local groups, This is Me Smiling. Frontman Dan Duszynski’s songwriting shone through in that group as it does here, but this time perhaps with even a little more clarity.
What Duszynski has done here is impressive. He has grown, and I suspect this new moniker allowed him to experiment with ideas that probably wouldn’t have flown in TiMS. Rather than craft another perfectionist studio work, this debut has the feel of a home-recording. A 21st century home-recording, mind you, but an overall relaxed feeling permeates these songs. Take a listen to “Can’t See it,” all acoustic guitar and atmosphere, where he sings and plays idly as if lying on his back on a couch at home. This is a new side to him, I think, but not one that feels unnatural.
Duszynski has always had a talent for translating grief and despondency in incredibly clever ways, but this album as a whole is the first thing he’s produced where that feeling seems so purely concentrated. Beginning a debut with a track entitled “Only Gonna Let You Down” is a sly move, but perusing the lyrics for these songs reveals that the little wink and smile that accompanied his older work isn’t so present here. Whether Duszynski has found ways to confront these emotions more honestly or it is simply a product of this new musical direction, they are effective.
The track that sticks with me the most is probably the most obvious one, “Never Seen Anyone Out There Like You.” A superb example of the less is more philosophy, everything about this song is infectious, from its restless guitar part to the drum beat to the dejected hook. I’m also particularly fond of the closer “One More,” yet another clever title placement. At just over one minute, it passes by before you can truly grasp how brilliantly it sums up the album.
For all of my babbling about This is Me Smiling throughout this review, you really don’t need to be familiar with that band to fall in love with this one. However, if you do find yourself taken with Any Kind, I would advise you to go back and check out those two incredible albums. I’m really anxious about what this band will do, and I hope they get the momentum going to do it. In the meantime, and forever, really, we have this amazing album.
- The Chicago-based Any Kind is: Dan Duszynski (guitars, keys, vocals), Matt Schuessler (bass), Adam Kalthenhauser (drums) and Bobby Lord (guitar, keys, vocals).
- A N Y K I N D can be freely streamed online. | Bandcamp
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