In his online biography, Hamburg's Kai Reiner says that being dragged to a Brian Wilson concert against his will just a couple years ago changed his life and inspired him to play pop music. It's a bit hard to believe his conversion was so instant and recent, as his 2008 debut, self-titled LP sounds more like the work of someone who has been lovingly listening to power pop music for years.
From the opening chords of track number one, "Cold Summer," it's obvious that this record is tailor made to appeal to any power pop enthusiast. The hooks are plentiful, the melodies pristine and the delivery sincere. As the record progresses it doesn't let down, with "Only We Both Know," "Hey K," "I Don't Want Your Crown" and "It's Over" all boasting instantly memorable melodies and spoonfuls of pop sweetness. Closing track "Shine" is another highlight, featuring an excellent chugging beat, an addictive guitar riff and contemplative lyrics. Most of the material is upbeat yet bittersweet, a mood made more pronounced by Reiner's earnest, almost deadpan vocal delivery. Musically, many of the songs bring to mind the power pop classic "Black Vinyl Shoes" by Shoes, with the material's fuzzy guitars and straightforward, unassuming vibe.
If you're into pop music with 60s-inspired melodies, loads of hooks and jangly guitars, this one is definitely worth a listen. Besides, any musician that ends his bio with, "Kai has become a much friendlier person now that he plays Pop music. Henry is Kais dog. Henry is a nuisance. He has to be taken for a walk twice a day. If not, he will take it out on the furniture," surely deserves plenty of fans.
You can say hello to Kai on MySpace and pick up the CD on CD Baby.
For a taste, here's the video to "Cold Summer."