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On This Dark Street by Kevin Tihista's Red Terror
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8/10 Clinton 16 March 2012

Kevin Tihista has been banging around the outskirts of sensitive American indie songsmithery for quite some time now. Initially comparisons were with Elliott Smith and you can still hear the softly sung, delicately strummed charm in here but Tihista has a much more plangent thing going on - one that would have at one point been described as 'radio friendly' until the radio stopped being friendly to such music. On a track like 'Bats' you can hear exactly where he's coming from. It reminds me of Howie Beck, Richard Davies or Ron Sexmith in that its perfectly crafted evocative guitar pop. There is absolutely no reason at all why this song should not be Radio 2 play listed never mind Radio 6. People would be 'texting in' in their droves to say how much they loved it. The lyrics for 'Jack K' would probably not get past the think tank though -  lines like 'I'm sorry that I ripped the cover off your Jack Kerouac novel but I had to blow my nose' and also the use of the word 'tit' would prove problematic to the focus group. Still, it keeps the interest levels and proves that Tihista is taking chances and not resorting to the same old cliches that can dull the singer songwriter genre. A lot of the songs recall the slower bits off The Go-Betweens unsurpassable '16 Lovers Lane' - charming slightly reverby melancholy stuff. Occasionally its gets a bit bogged down but there's always an oddball instrumental or an unexpected lyric to keep the interest levels up.



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