Singer/producer Kwes. (note the period) is British, though you won’t need me to tell you that after hearing him sing for even a few moments. His accent shines through his dulcet vocals, giving them a charming, plaintive quality that belies his young age (24).
His brief yet satisfying Meantime EP opens with “Klee,” an instrumental number of floating keyboard pads and faded chimes; its placement at the start of this record signals an attention to unique details often absent in this sort of bedroom R&B.
Second track “Bashful” is a decidedly more pop-oriented affair. Soft beats and an insistent bassline back lyrics about “getting over myself” and “feeling awkward,” which reveal a relieving willingness to let his guard down instead of trading in the detached posturing that colors so many young male singers’ work these days (I’m looking at you, Mr. Weeknd). Indeed, over the course of this EP’ 17 minutes, he gives off a vibe that above all else radiates an approachable friendliness. This is in turn reflected through the instrumental details, like the distant, synthy strings and unassuming whistling of “Honey” (which also features the cheesy/cute refrain “I’m stuck on you, honey”) or the dreamy bells and rather raw St. Vincent-esque synth stomps of closer “Igoyh,” on which he sweetly encourages a lover to “let go of the hurt in your heart” and repeatedly assures her that “I’m not going anywhere.”
They say that nice guys finish last, but if Meantime is any indication, Kwes. is only headed for bigger and brighter moments. When the worst thing I can say about an EP is that it’s too damn short, it’s certainly a success. The extended length (seven minutes!) and ambient musings of “Igoyh” show that he’s just as capable a producer as he is a singer-songwriter. The title of this release is therefore apt — I want to hear much more from this dude, but in the meantime, these four gorgeous tracks will have to do.
Plugging away since 1999, The National finally hit mainstream success with the release of their 2010 album High Violet. Of course, this entailed their first world tour, but in the new documentary Mistaken For Strangers, it’s only the backdrop for the relationship between lead singer Matt Berninger and his younger brother Tom, who had no idea that these short videos he was shooting would turn into a public document of their troubled, if still loving brotherhood.
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