Sometimes, after the first listen of a new album, I already know that I've listened to a special album. Reviewing such a record makes things easier. At other times an album needs some extra attention and more listens to estimate it the right value and sometimes it's just difficult to write an honest and clear review. The album Traveller by the German artist Jordi Kuragari, who hails from Berlin, belongs to the latter category. On his debut Kurigari has recorded only self-written songs that contain both instrumental and vocal compositions on which Kuragari plays all the instruments. In the songs his vocals are the most prominent parts.
Jordi Kuragari is a gifted guitarist whose way of playing tends towards the style of Andy Latimer (Camel) and Mike Oldfield, which can be heard in songs as Bounced, The Darkest Night and In These Woods. These songs sound relaxed with stretched guitar notes. However, the vocal tracks are kind of singer-songwriter compositions influenced by rock music and with pleasant sounding solos. In the opening piece Anywhere But Here it sounds a bit like 'Camel meet Dire Straits', but then sung with a strong German accent. Personally I think Dire Straits were the most boring band on earth and that says enough of my opinion about these songs on Traveller... It took me several spins to get used to it, but with every listen the mixed feelings got worse. Under My Umbrella seems to become a nice acoustic song, but after a while the repeating lines that form the song's title work against it. However, I'm still impressed by the relaxed way Kuragari plays the guitar, but the vocals are yet responsible for the final rating I gave to this German musician.
As I stated before, Traveller is an album that gives me mixed feelings. Kuragari's guitar playing is flawless, but his singing is quite boring and the flat compositions don't compensate this shortcoming. I think that if the vocal compositions would have had more energy, the outcome would have been better. However, people who like relaxed songs and have no problems with a mediocre voice might give this album a try.
**+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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