Sound — 7
Kaki King goes back to basics with an interesting twist for her sixth full length release. It's been two years since her last album "Junior" which was the culmination of making a record that sounded like a full band rather than a solo instrumentalist. With "Glow", King drops her vocals completely in favour of guitar driven tracks, more in line with her second album "Legs To Make Us Longer". King is known for pushing the boundaries of guitar playing, constantly using unusual techniques to achieve different sounds. "Glow" is not exempt from this. The track "Bowen Island" sees King use a "Koto guitar" which involves placing a piece of wood underneath the 16th fret of the guitar to achieve perfect 5ths either side. The outcome is an oriental sound that most would associate with Asian culture. Other tracks like "King Pitzel" have a distinct Celtic sound, with King's usual fast hand picking. While foremost a guitar record, "Glow" also incorporates other accompanying instruments. "The Fire Eater" as well as being the longest track on the album also includes ETHEL who are classical string quartet from New York. "Cargo Cult" includes flourishes of Piano as well as King keeping a pulsating beat on a floor drum.
Lyrics — 1
This is the first Kaki King record for a while with no vocals. Since her 3rd album "...Until We Felt Red" there has been an increase in tracks with vocals which ended with "Junior". "Glow" fits more in line with her first two albums.
Overall Impression — 7
Personally I'm a great fan of Kaki King's vocals. Some of my favourite songs of hers have her singing on them. The standard of imaginative guitar songs hasn't changed though and this is still a great record. "Bowen Island" has to be the stand out track for me and I would recommend listening to this first to get a feel for the overall album. Although there are many interesting aspects to "Glow" I would have to say that it doesn't come close to the sounds achieved on albums like "...Until We Felt Red" or "Junior", but Kaki King is far from making a disappointing album thus far.