Kyle Alden – Hello Again Kind Stranger
We look at Kyle Alden today with his sophomore LP effort Hello Again Kind Stranger. Energy-wise, both this and his Tangletown have a more subdued sound than his 2007 EP hubbub. This is a record where its beauty lies within its subtlety and nuance, and its power within the lyrics.
It opens up with, “Wanted You Too”. What I love most about this track is the little melodic riff that comes in at 1:40 where it sounds like guitar strings being plucked. Very interesting. “Pay No Mind” is my favorite song on here, though. It’s a sweet acoustic number with just voice and guitar to draw the listener in.
Whatever Alden lacks for in vocal range, he makes up for in lyrical prowess. On “Mockingbird Blues”, he sings, “I wish I was a rich man, so I wouldn’t have to die. I’d gather all my euros and stack them half-way up the sky.” Most of the writing throughout possesses similar charm and depth.
The album is very consistent, both sonically and stylistically. Once you catch the vibe, there isn’t a whole lot to be surprised about. No tracks that seem to stand out against the others. But every so often, it manages to pleasantly throw you off guard. For example, during the first verse of “Beach Guitar”, Kyle does this cool thing with his voice where he brings it real low—just for a second. But it’s enough to show you there’s a bit more than what we’re being invited to hear.
In the end, Alden has a very smooth–almost singer-songwriter–style, but with more texture. You can hear the hybrid of rock, folk, country, and blues influences throughout the record. Hello Again Kind Stranger is a collection of eleven good songs that are not over-produced, but have just the right amount of everything. There aren’t any catchy singles on here, but you can throw this album on and know you’re in good hands for the next forty-six minutes.