Regina singer/songwriter Chad Kichula has been honing his craft over the last few years, releasing two solid albums and an EP of rootsy Springsteen-inspired tunes. In the process, Kichula has played across the country, winning over people one venue at a time. As well, he has managed to get some steady radio airplay south of the border. With his profile growing, Kichula knew it was time to really step up to the plate and swing for the fences. Well, it's safe to say that he delivers the goods with Killer, his third full-length release.
In the past, Kichula found a nice niche with his no-frills, earnest rock tunes with the odd ballad thrown in. However, with Killer, he has thrown out the rule book and shook up his sonic palette. In the process, he has decided to let loose and have some fun with some of the songs. While he has always been a strong songwriter, Kichula has really developed an uncanny knack for writing some damn catchy melodies. The end result is a wonderfully conceived album in the classic sense of the word. It's obvious that plenty of thought went into the sequencing of the songs, where the ten tracks would fit perfectly on two sides of an LP.
The album kicks off with the menacing title track, which is constructed around a hypnotic, pulsating bassline, courtesy of Philip Legrand. As well, guitarist and coproducer Matt Kaip rips off a really cool, fuzzed-out guitar solo. The pace then abruptly picks up with the bouncy, ska-inflected "Still Around." Up next is the chugging rocker "Over Me," which features Kichula's rich, raspy baritone, and the wistful country ballad "Miner Road." "Miner's Road" features some beautiful violin, courtesy of Suzanne Pavrovsky, along with some smooth harmony vocals from Sheenah Ko. Keeping with the LP motif, Side A ends with the spare, acoustic folk of "Mothers Cry."
Side B kicks off with the album's standout track, "Bar Fly." This is an immediately infectious ska tune and features backing vocals from Thomas Roussin of the nancy ray-guns. This song is so much fun that I bet it could even make Bill O'Reilly or an English guard smile. Local CJTR radio personality (and all around nice guy) Redbeard has described this song as a "guilty pleasure" type of song. Well, I don't feel one ounce of guilt for liking this song... and neither do the people that shake their butts to it at O'Hanlon's and The Exchange during Kichula's shows. After the sugar rush of "Bar Fly," the album switches gears with the country ballad "King of Despair," which is a really nice reworking of a song from his first album. Here, Kichula steps out of his vocal comfort zone, singing with a soft falsetto at times. The album finishes strong with the uptempo country of "Listening," the country-rock of "Few Dollars More" and the waltzy, folk ballad "Miles and Miles."
At ten songs and only 35 minutes, the album leaves you wanting more, which is definitely a wise move... all Killer, no filler. Chad Kichula has definitely arrived.
You can get your hands on the album on January 15, when Chad will be playing at The Gaslight Saloon for his official CD Release Party. It'll definitely be money well spent. See ya there!