Soft Commands

Ken Stringfellow

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2004, Yep Roc Records

Ex-Posies frontman Ken Stringfellow returns for another round of intricate {pop/rock} confections with the FM-ready Soft Commands. This time around, the {singer/songwriter} and multi-instrumentalist broadens his horizons with forays into Burt Bacharach {soft rock}, soul, and even dub. Writing and recording all over the world -- New York, Senegal, Stockholm, Seattle, Paris, Vancouver, and Hollywood -- Stringfellow has concocted a frustratingly obtuse record that's as beautiful and bold as it is shapeless and erratic. Soft Commands plays like a compilation, taking on Jackson Browne pop (You Drew), experimental reggae (You Became the Dawn), and heavily orchestrated Phil Spector bliss (When You Find Someone) with varying results -- the latter sounds like a sequel to the Walker Brothers' 1966 classic The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore. Stringfellow's crystal-clear vocals have always been among his stronger attributes, and they couldn't be any better on tracks like the gorgeous and epic closer Death of a City, but when he attempts a multi-note soul croon on the bluesy Let Me Do, the cool confidence that rings true within the confines of his pop material is rendered shaky and thin by a milieu he may be better off appreciating from afar. Soft Commands is full of the intricate arrangements and clever wordplay that {power pop} fans have come to expect from the artist, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the serpentine rocker Don't Die, a heavy, complex, and blissfully Posie-esque rumination on death that requires several listens before attaching itself to your brain like a remora to a shark. It's a reminder that despite the occasional deviation, Stringfellow is still capable of balancing beauty and danger within the confines of the four-minute pop song, and for fans of melodic rock everywhere, that's a damn good thing. ~ James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide


Disc 1
1 You Drew PLAY
2 Any Love (Cassandra Et Lune) PLAY
3 Known Diamond PLAY
4 When U Find Someone PLAY
5 Don't Die PLAY
6 Let Me Do PLAY
7 For Your Sake PLAY
8 Je Vous En Prie PLAY
9 You Become The Dawn PLAY
10 Dawn Of The Dub Of The Dawn Feat. Gaffa Man PLAY
11 Cyclone Graves PLAY
12 Death Of A City PLAY

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