War & Peas Reviews:
Heavy Metal Resource
Rock singer Matt Kramer of Saigon Kick fame has released a solo album, his first since leaving the South Florida-bred metal band. He is celebrating the new project with a performance tonight at Fort Lauderdale's Factory, 2674 E. Oakland Park Blvd. War and Peas, on Kramer's own Lascivious Records, is a thoroughly homegrown project. It was recorded in Miami in the past several months with area musicians, and produced and engineered by the frontman himself.
Kramer does not make any dramatic breaks with his past here; the voice still ranges from stoned-out wail to pretty growl. But songs, including Soul Star and Goodbye to All Tomorrows, put him in a deliberately roughed-up, less-polished setting than the heavy-metal chamber his voice occupied on The Lizard, the 1992 Saigon Kick album that produced a hit power ballad, Love Is on the Way. If anything, War and Peas recalls Saigon Kick's self-titled 1988 major-label debut, an album with fewer Queen-sized layers of vocal harmony and more stripped-down glam-rock energy. Kramer has always been a bit of a New York Doll at heart, and the seedy-vainglorious charm of his singing is more apparent than ever on War and Peas.
The release party starts at 9:30 p.m. Special guests Stilt and Flick open.
The Kramer band is comprised of guitarists Dave Scott and Jimmy Griffin, drummer Jonathan Mover (Joe Satriani, Oleander, Fuel), and bassist Miguel Gonzalez (Mary Karlzen, Brian Howe). Call 954-564-7625 for details or visit www.mattkramer.net.
By Sean Piccoli
(LASCIVIOUS RECORDS/ARTIST SITE)
Matt Kramer, the frontman for the highly underrated and under-appreciated Saigon Kick, drops in with his debut solo disc, while not too far a cry from the slightly eccentric SK, there is an increased wash of modern urgency, as if Bowie and T Rex were updated for there grandchildren. The interesting thing is, as active as many of these songs are, They are also haunting take "So Long", a yearning coil around a cold chill thrust into a surging rhythm, never having too much fun nor drudging about the gutter in excess, this one toys with both ends of the emotional spectrum, demanding more from the listener that they may expect, another case in point in "Spinning Round", we get the breezy music contrasted with heavy lyrics that perk up them lazy, presumptuous ears. Kramer literally rambles about politics, date rape and other topics that engulf us in a vicious cycle that just wont let us off the ride. Overall, an engaging and tuneful embrace of rock n roll that should not disappoint fans of either SK, or hard rock with a fresh intelligent nod
Heavy Metal Resource
Its been a long time since I heard anything from former Saigon Kick frontman Matt Kramer. I remember hearing the band for the first time and thinking how unique they were for the time they surfaced. As a matter of fact when I started to make the conversion from cassette to Cd, Saigon Kicks debut album was the first disc I owned. After a couple of great albums Matt was no longer in the band, and Jason took over on vocals. Well, Matt surfaces with his new album "War & Peas". For fans of early Saigon Kick, this album will be welcomed warmly. Now in my opinion this album doesnt really sound like Saigon Kick, but does have that unique feel that fans expect from Kramer. Most of the tunes have a distinct personality to them and are not really predictable. What I find interesting is that George Lynch co-penned some of these tracks. So do they sound like Lynchs trademark?? Not really. These tracks really have Kramers stamp on it. Hard driving rock tunes to sink your teeth into. Some of my favorites on the album include Goodbye to all Tomorrows, Spinning Round, Powdered Blue Skies, Change, If God could hear me now, Silence. While you can hear what Kramers influence was in Saigon Kick, this album stands on its own with only a hint of his former band.
Its nice to have Matt making music again, there is just a comfort in having musicians around that put a lot of effort and thought into there writing which is what Matt does. Check out the official Matt Kramer website for more info on purchasing the disc.
Saigon Kick vocalist Matt Kramer is back with a solo album released of his own accord. War & Peas isn't musically matched with his former band, but retains the familiar semi-alternative air that band always had about them.
If Matt was capable of recording a straight up hard rock album - this would be it. That said, this still relies on an alternative/modern heavy rock slant, but the nature of the songs allows more instant likeability in them and with repeat listens, hooks and melodies become better known.
As fans will attest to, Matt's got a unique voice, so new listeners should take that into mind. Established fans will eat this up. A solid and rocking album.
Review: This is an interesting c.d. not sure what to compare it to for people that haven't heard it yet.. Matt has a very interesting singing style, and anyone who was a Saigon Kick fan knows it.. but I would say it's still straight ahead rock n roll.. but sounds a little trippier.. almost like the music is on acid... great groovy guitar licks.. some songs are slow and deep... others are a tad on the punk side. George Lynch even wrote a couple tracks.. "Silence" I think is the closest to a Saigon song.. not that Matt needs to try and follow those footsteps.. If this is any indication of his solo stuff .. it's all good!
Booklet: : This is how it should be done, folds out to 3 pages.. with all the lyrics to all the songs, and the musicians on the songs which is very cool! and of coarse the thanks..etc.. BUT Not many pictures... grrr.. a few black and white ones on the back of the band.. and Matt.. still looks great.. love the cover.. with the guns and peas.. k
Favorite Track:: LOVE the guitar melody in "So Long".. I'd have to say it's my favorite.. Also great groove in "Goodbye to all Tomorrows"... all these tracks have there own style.. and each is very different... it's nice to hear something new.. and experimental.
Least Favorite: There really isn't any songs I dislike.. I guess I'll just have to think of what took longer to sink in.. and after listening to this c.d. allll day.. I'd have to say the first song (boy that's a change) "Soul Star" it's just not as strong of a song to me.. I love to hear him sing.. not yell..
EX-SAIGON KICKS BACK INTO ACTION!: Vocalist MATT KRAMER of acclaimed one-album-wonders SAIGON KICK returns to the fold with his first release since the band's breakup a decade ago. He explained to Electricbasement.com what happened to his former band, "Let's say I was getting ripped off. Yeah, they found me on the highway jacked up on blocks, stripped and burning...and broke.
"The single "Love Is On The Way" hit pretty big and the new material that was being pushed down my throat by Atlantic, and CERTAIN band members for the new cd...because it was so poppy and beautiful, jerk off jerk off...was not up to par or wasn't it Saigon Kick. It was the green-eyed money monster period. And to tell you that I actually quit in Stockholm, Sweden, at the mic singing that dreadful lovely dovey pop, set your wings to take flight love ballad, that ended up as "Waters" first single with an anchor, appropriately titled "I Love You". And to tell you that I was actually laying down tracks for "The Lizard's" follow up. And quit calling me crazy but I'm not singing that shit. No way plus I was getting fleeced along with 2 other members so it was just a burning ship and I just left before it consumed all of me that would be left.
Basically all in all, the band was lost after we got our deal, and realized money and power were better drugs than the real band that was a hard working group of cats struggling and bonded like brothers, sweating in a in a warehouse in crack town 6 months earlier. Fucking Amazing.
Full Strength Ultimate metal Australia
After some eleven years in self imposed exile, ex-Saigon Kick front man Matt Kramer is back with his debut solo album 'War & Peas'.
Matt has roped in some friends to help out in the recording studio. Those who contribute to the album are Matt himself on vocals and guitars, Miguel Gonzalez on bass, Dave Scott on guitar and drummer extraordinaire Jonathon Mover (Joe Satriani) on drums/percussion.
Leading the return of Matt's rock revival is the heavy sounding 'Soul Star'. While it's primarily driven by a strong riff, it's the rough and ready delivery of the track that threatens to fall to pieces at any moment that ready adds to the songs vitality and energy.
'So Long' highlights Matt's unique quirky vocal sound, while the chorus really makes the song stand on its own. 'Goodbye To All Tomorrows' on the other hand, opens with a harder and thicker edged sounding groove that creates the perfect atmosphere for this darker sounding song.
A change of pace is brought about with the introduction of acoustic guitars for 'Spinning Round'. Matt's sense of humor is evident throughout the lyrics, and as a consequence, makes this track stand out as a favorite. The mood is retained on the dreamy sounding 'Powdered Blue Skies'. Matt's vocal performance clearly shows he hasn't lost those high notes in his absence from the music scene.
'Change' is another highlight, and brings to mind the magic of Jeff Buckley. Again, it comes down to the simplicity of the music combined with the extraordinary vocals provided by Matt. The subtle viola (By Debbie Spring) and Dave Scott's solo mid way through are stunning touches, and work perfectly within the number.
Another surprise is the inclusion of three tracks originally intended for a project called Stonehouse (Who consisted of Matt and ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch). 'Caught Up On The Inside', 'I'm Getting Closer' and 'If God Could Hear Me Now' all retain the heaviness of the original concept (A metallic industrial feel), but with a distinctly hard rock sound. The later is the heaviest, with Matt's singing very deep (As opposed to high register vocal sound).
'Exit' is as rough and ready as the albums opener, with the band really thrashing out the number with plenty of gusto and exuberance.
The albums closer again brings to mind the Jeff Buckley comparisons with the reintroduction of acoustic guitars and Matt's wavering high register notes. There's also a touch of classic Saigon Kick with the instrumentation, giving you the impression this could have easily fitted on 'The Lizard' album.
After being away for so long, I can only hope that Matt will make up for the lost time by making more albums along this style. It's not a reincarnation of classic Saigon Kick, and quite frankly, if it was, I'd be a little disappointed. This album is as diverse as the man himself, and strangely enough, seems to flow with a natural ease. Sure, it's not as polished as a major label release, but then it wouldn't be as unique sounding as this. This is a welcome return for someone who has been away for far too long.
Saigon Kick, well Matt Kramer was their original lead vocalist. This aint
your usual 80s start trying to rekindle the style of music he was playing
the best part of 20 years ago no way dudes!! Matts gone into recent
territory and dabbled in the current metal sounds (like the track, Goodbye
to all tomorrows) as well as getting a bit experimental and industrial on us.
Some of the stuff is negatively sounding but life aint an easy breeze is it unless you live off a silver spoon. Many of the musical arrangements wouldnt be out of place on an Iggy Pop or late 70s David Bowie album (a good example being Soul Star). Matt even manages to grab you with atmospherics like Marilyn Manson and at times the vibes and haunting vocal qualities of Jim Morrison flood out of the songs, especially in Exit. I must also bring Im getting closer to your immediate attention as its real biting with a Stoner meets Grunge groove.
The lyrics are moving and incredibly well thought out in the entire album that ironically features famed drummer, Jonothon Mover not to mention three songs co-written with the legendary axe swinger, George Lynch (If god could hear me now; Im getting closer and Caught up on the inside).
I like it a lot !! and so will you.
By Glenn Milligan, BA Hons CS
Mr. Kramer, of course, was the slightly edgy, lead-singing shaman for the vastly under-rated Florida band Saigon Kick, a sparkling one hit wonder that can succinctly be described as a cross between the first wave of alternative, circa '87, '88 and hair metal. They ruled, and you should own at least the first three. Matt's back now with his debut solo CD, and hey, it ain't cheap-feeling (past the awful cover art and title), nor embarrassing, nor too crazy a departure, nor badly recorded. Fact is, War & Peas is an artful, slashing, mostly hard rocking effort that sounds like a more adventuresome, loopy Saigon Kick with solid grinding musical performances every bit as top notch as the old band. Up top deck, Matt wears a number of vocal chapeaus, caps, tams and fedoras, a little Bowie here, Robert Smith there, hints of Radiohead... it's sometimes a little much, affected, thespian and histrionic. But the technicolourful, witty, perceptive, clearly enunciated lyrics and the sturdiness of the songs charm you right back into the world of this guy. I'm getting a Wildhearts, King's X, Cheap Trick, Mike Tramp, mixed with Brit Pop and new rock vibe. Welcome back, oh free an' easy troubadour. - Martin Popoff
you're like me and have a soft spot for many of the late eighties/early nineties
rock acts that were considerably talented but lumped into the 'hair metal' category
by the media, then you are probably familiar with Florida's SAIGON KICK. The
band gained notoriety with the ballad 'Love Is On The Way', which made it all
the way to the top of the charts quickly and then they disappeared just as fast.
Or did they? This was a band full of contradictions, twists, turns and some really intense musical flavorings. After the success of "Love is on the Way", Saigon Kick's fame was short-lived. After their second CD, The Lizard fell off the charts, lead singer Matt Kramer left and was not seen nor heard from for a very long time.
Well he's back. With a new project, and a new lease on life in the music industry... only this time around, he's calling the shots. This, in my opinion, is one of the best things the internet has provided for artists of deeper depth and caliber who simply don't want to kow-tow to recording industry trends. Kramer's new disc is entitled War & Peas, and at first that threw me off because of the silly implications of the title, but once this disc hit the player, all humor and doubt was cast aside.
This is some serious shit folks, and Kramer's voice is in top form. He has really taken time to craft an album filled with songs that not only move, punch, jab and deliver, but retain some key melodic moments that make this disc a pretty hot contender.
I actually doubted that anyone from the eighties could really make a 'comeback' album that wouldn't sound forced or contrived, but Kramer sounds right at home. This disc will not disappoint his older fans, and it will gain him some new ones for sure.
Take the time and rediscover a very talented singer who really never left in the first place. Highly recomended.
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