I think I’m suffering from a little known malady presumably confined to music critics. Unofficially labelled Press Bio Fatigue, or in short PBF, it triggers violent convulsions and leaves the afflicted a quivering, slobbering mess. The common cause is over-exposure to promotional biographies that waste incalculable seconds of valuable life by having to read such time-honoured phrases as: “X, who has previously toured with Paul McCartney, believes this album is his finest work to date, etc etc”.
OK, so I exaggerate a little, but the press bio is all too often recognition by association, a potted history that spews out superlatives yet reveals nothing noteworthy about the music it is supposedly referring to.
So what’s all this got to do with Tim David Kelly? And who the Hell IS Tim David Kelly? The answer to both is that Kelly, a true independent artist in every sense of the word, doesn’t flagrantly abuse the English language by sending out such biographies with his CDs—he just lets his music say everything instead.
Whether you remember Tim from MCA act Kicking Harold or not, you’ll find that Growing Up Naked is filled with the kind of vital, kick-ass modern rock that makes you grateful for an underground scene. And as a release free from marketing plans, executive interference and label politics, where virtually every note you hear is performed and produced by Kelly, it becomes all the more impressive.
When you also consider that at least half of this record is “radio ready” (that’s Press bio speak to emphasise great melody and commercial potential), it’s a shame that Tim’s current lack of a manager, label, or all-embracing relationship with MTV means that the great songs on here probably won’t get the exposure they warrant. Overall, the music is a mix of gentle, yet starkly effective acoustic pieces (“Track Twelve” and “She Breaks Down”), combined with aggressive post-grunge rock (“Broken on the Inside”, “Twisted and Fried”, “Grow”) and melodic masterpieces (“1000 Miles…”, “Maybe It’s True”, “Nothing’s Going Right”). If comparisons must be made, it’s the bastard son of a union between Nirvana and the Goo Goo Dolls.
Kelly’s vocals shine but leave room for some edgy lead and rhythm guitar and his lyrics display a skill for chronicling everyday emotions or activities with a dash of honesty, humour and irony. Nowhere is this more evident than on opener “The Laundry Song” where the underpants and socks wash-cycle is transformed into an interesting stream of consciousness: “The socks enjoy the static like mothballs in the attic / The basket screams for water / It never ends”. Further proof of some great rock-pop song-writing comes on the aforementioned “1000 Miles From Lonely”, an acoustic based tune that screams out to be granted a wider audience and one that could just turn the screw for him.
You get the picture by now I hope. If you think I am suffering from the delirious after-effects of PBF, go to www.cdbaby.com, buy the record and judge for yourself. Oh and Nurse, pass me my pills—I have some promo packages to open.
// Notes from the Road
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