Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: Kim Drake “Surrealist's Dream”

Pop rock
Here we have another promising young artist from the Miami-based label Forward Motion Records. Kim Drake’s second CD, “Surrealist's Dream” builds on her desire to fuse psychedelic and garage rock in a way that stays true to her avant-garde roots without sacrificing the melodies that keep listeners coming back for more. Drake developed her vocal chops as the lead singer for a Ramones cover band (called the Ramonas) and also continues to play piano/organ for The Black Rabbits. Another interesting bit of trivia: Drake studied under opera singer Kay Kramer, the mother of Matt Kramer (Saigon Kick).

“Surrealist's Dream” was produced by Fernando Perdomo (Dreaming In Stereo), who has a masterful ear for great new talent and a knack for bringing out the best of their abilities. I first found out about Drake through watching her adorable video for the first single, “Modest Man”. Not only is it a great sunny tune, but the video was shot in celebration of Record Store Day, and it is fun to see her flip through so many of the LPs I cherished growing up. Check out the video below and see how many of your favorites you can spot.

With its mild Traveling Wilburys feel and instantly gratifying chorus, “Modest Man” remains my favorite track on the album. A close second is the delightfully bouncy, piano-rich track called “Andy”. “Nerd Amour” is an infectious rocker carried by a great stomp-clap backbeat, crossing her Ramones influence with Joan Jett. Songs like this as well as her acoustic ballad “My Love Wants To Grow” also reveal that Drake has a vocal range well beyond what one might expect for fronting a Ramones cover band – her vocals can be tender and earnest, and she has a beautiful falsetto. Drake can also channel some of the great girl groups of the 50s and 60s – check out the Ronnie Spector coming through on the title track. The CD ends strong with a terrific power pop number called “Summers Fade Away” before chilling out with the mellow piano ballad, “Heartbeat”.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 5, 9

Kim Drake Official site.

Check out a video for “Modest Man”: