It's hard to gauge how seriously you should take Kaloomith
. Bruce White, the man behind the 14-person project, places immediately pleasing though slightly tongue-in-cheek guitar solos over lush, hi-fi spacy backgrounds. The result, on the more guitar-based numbers, has a kitschily retro-'80s feel -- "Praxis", "Our Path are Sonic Waves" and "The Source"'s slick leads sound like they could go along with any number of '80s John Cusack movies.
More fluid, bleep-heavy songs such as "Remote Viewer", "Gravity" and "Soft and Sharp" could provide ambiance for a whizzing and buzzing microchip. White's music remains straightforward, and occasionally threatens to linger in easy listening or soft-rock territory, but his expansive arrangements are wholly redeeming. Surging through low, robotic bass melodies to higher synth-sparks, they constantly change, twist and swirl with brisk and progressive tempos. The fact that the music is often playful, and never gets too complex, makes White's vision all the more accessible and impressive; each song unites a plethora of electronic leads that might otherwise sound cluttered. Call it a futuristic space jam-session.
If the disc falls short in one area, it's in the limited emotional response it demands. Whether the music is fast or slow, adjectives like "slick" and "cool", paired with a general sense of curious wonderment, are as far as the music goes, connection-wise. Only on the more complex, drawn-out "Mystery Falls" and "Kaloomith" does White diverge slightly from this path, flowing through a variety of moods, even giving the title track a faintly bluesy edge. Kaloomith's real appeal, nonetheless, remains in its presentation.
This is White's third CD, and his guitar work identifies him as a mature talent. Though he's a tad too commercial at times, his leads are simply fun. He's familiar with electronic gizmos and synthesizers, too -- and while he's not quite on the cutting edge of technology, he's not afraid to wrap his compositions in experimental clothes. Ultimately, like the best envelope-pushing pop rock, his music remains accessible, even when it strains against invisible stylistic boundaries.