not kevin – Good Enough EP Review

Whether it’s Crystal Castles or Cannibal Corpse, band names can often give insight to what the name bearer sounds like. But multi-instrumentalist Cameron Smith uses a musical alias to let us know what he’s not. Whether he’s the archnemesis of a certain Kevin or trying to prove he’s not a meme, one thing is certain – Cameron Smith is not kevin.

So we’ve got some idea of who Smith isn’t, but let’s discuss what his latest release, Good Enough, is. The EP is an introspective reflection that plays out through jazz-influenced indie rock. Dreamy chords flutter over bustling R&B basslines as not kevin’s laid-back vocals deal with topics that are anything but. The themes of self-doubt and anxiety are an excellent juxtaposition to the lush instrumentation. It would be easy for someone with Smith’s musical capabilities to write meaningless drivel, but fortunately he rises to the occasion lyrically on Good Enough.

Instrumentally, one thing that all three songs on this EP share is very forward bass playing. The basslines really make the floaty chord progressions pop. There’s enough variation in pacing between the three songs to keep you on your toes. “Benzedrine” is an upbeat, disco-tinged jam, while “Right Way” finds a balance between zen dream pop and summery jazz. Both songs also see not kevin break out the sax, which pays off very well. But the sax isn’t the only trick up not kevin’s sleeve – he plays with arrangements so that no two verses sound alike. This comes in different forms, like the vocal harmony experimentation in “Model”, or the guitar and organ arpeggios on “Benzedrine”.

There isn’t really much to fault not kevin for on this EP. The vocal style works well for these songs, but for a longer release I think more range would be helpful. There were also a few questionable moments on “Model”. The bass fills in the second verse fall a bit out of the pocket. Also, while I like the idea of an abrupt ending, it could have been executed a little better. Overall though, these complaints are minor when compared to all the things not kevin does right on this EP.

Good Enough is more than good enough, it’s great (ok, I can feel the eye roll on that one…). This project is an intriguing mix of styles, and I look forward to seeing what not kevin has to offer next.

Best Tracks: Benzedrine, Right Way

Weakest Tracks: n/a

FFO: Vampire Weekend, Stereolab, Tortoise

Overall Score: B

– A.

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