10 1993-2003 Ten Years Of

K's Choice

Sony, 2004

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/29/2004

There are certain bands whom you have no clue of, but have seen or heard one of their songs at random somewhere, and thought they were good, and forget about them completely, only to realize that you know this song, and it is nice, when you confront it again the next time. Still you don't know the band behind the song, and don't care much to find out about them either: K's Choice is such an outfit.

An example: the song"Virgin State Of Mind" by K's Choice, featured on one of the episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer: I bet you didn't know about this, did you?

This Belgian act, led by the brother-sister duo of Gret and Sarah Bettens have been in the music scene for quite sometime, and ten years and just four records later, they are here with a "best of" compilation, titled 10 1993-2003 Ten Years Of . It is only surprising that the band could come up with an anthology of eighteen songs -- three of them being unreleased singles -- with just four studio LPs backing them up.

This album is for the aforementioned many, who have hummed a "K's Choice" song or two, without having had the proclivity to buy the record, for the fear of investing in a band they have never heard of. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 10 is the typical guitar-based alternative rock record, which one can sing along with -- whilst it plays in the background -- without giving much serious thought to the music. It is a bunch of songs that aren't too much of anything.

Sarah, the 'sister' Bettens, plays the role of the lead singer for K's Choice. She is not one of 'those' angst-ridden women in rock. However, she does have a uniquely gruff voice that goes into brief lachrymal fissures every now and then, when all you can hear is arid air being blown out through her throat. This adds an element of lament to her vocals, especially since her songs, oftentimes seem benign and unexcited.

The band writes goody-goody numbers like "I Smoke A Lot" (a song about smoking that has words, "I smoke a lot; sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's not"), "Little Man" (a song about Gret's new-born baby that starts off with the words, "I have a brother I love more than me; he and his wife had a little baby"), and "Dad" (it goes without saying what the song is about, on which Sarah confesses "I was a kid, you were my dad; I didn't always understand").

To be honest, there is some amount of intelligence with which the band writes its songs, and which slips into absolute obscurity, for reasons attributed to the group's immoderately tame nature. For instance, "The Ballad Of Leah And Paul," a funny song about an inane imagined love between two fictional characters, reveals its witty humor only if one pays more attention to the lyrics than the singing and the music.

The song "Not An Addict" is a potent anti-drug song that has the simple and extremely stinging words, "It's not a habit, it's cool…I'm not an addict…The deeper you stick it in your vein, the deeper the thoughts, there's no more pain," still not being as effective, due to the rather meek music that adorns it. Even "Everything For Free," one of the relatively edgier K's Choice songs, seems like a just another 'broken-hearted' number at first. But, in fact, it is a very cheeky song about the parody of being a mental patient, and having the liberty -- that a supposedly sane person is deprived of -- of being totally irresponsible and foolish, and not having to worry about it at all.

K's Choice is a fairly intelligent band, but whose smartness goes unnoticed, unless an attempt is made to explore the depths of their music. But, on the other hand, it is very difficult to do so, because of their annoyingly docile exterior, be it while being humorous, or while being serious. A "Best Of" LP is the right album to get acquainted with a band like this one, when it is at its most enjoyable. So, after ten years of music and existence, introducing K's Choice!

Rating: C+

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© 2004 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sony, and is used for informational purposes only.