Friday, December 3, 2010

Review: Joshua Ketchmark “Karus Cruentus” [EP]

Late in 2009, we found ourselves truly impressed with the debut album from Illinois rocker Joshua Ketchmark (review here). Once again, he is ready to launch another release at the start of the New Year – his new EP, “Karus Cruentus” drops January 11, 2011.

What made his debut, “List Of Regrets”, work so well is the basic rock formula followed by Ketchmark. His tunes were full of crunchy guitar and fat hooks that made you want to instantly sing along. Unfortunately, he seems to have largely thrown this formula to the wind with the five new songs on this EP. I was not attracted to any of them with the immediacy I experienced last year listening to “List Of Regrets”. This time around, Ketchmark has recruited producer Andrew Ackland (Eagles, Bravery) to the project, and the team aimed to produce a “very live feel” to the recording. While that is an admirable aim and would probably work for an artist as talented as Ketchmark, it is the mediocre songs that make the EP a failure.

I’ve gotten conflicting information on what the first single is – one states the first single is “Breakdown”, a dreary composition that is a serious miscalculation, and the other states it is “Absent Savior”, a much better choice but still forgettable song. The only saving grace on “Karus Cruentus” comes at the end with “C’mon C’mon”, an upbeat rocker that somewhat restored my faith in this guy’s potential. To take the next step up, I encourage Ketchmark to take two steps back and deliver another record with the melodies and hooks of “List Of Regrets”. Ketchmark also needs better harmonies and more of them to augment his average vocals.

Joshua Ketchmark on MySpace. Official site.

Here is a video preview of the new EP: