akido: Blink

Blink, the second album by Montreal guitarist, sometime film composer, and one-man-band Kim Gaboury (aka aKido), makes the merging of electronic and rock genres seem like a winning and natural formula. Gaboury's music raves without lapsing into out-of-control mayhem, and its elegance is bolstered by the inclusion of Joyce Vallus's silky vocals. Also distinguishing Blink is the fact that Gaboury composes songs, not tracks, so that electronic pop pieces like “Cause Célèbre,” for example, impress as studiously arranged and sequenced wholes. Songs repeatedly take surprising twists and turns: “Mikado” somehow manages to work into its six minutes Tears For Fears' “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” rhythm, sultry Asian atmospherics, symphonic electronic pop, and shoegaze guitar riffing, while traces of drum'n'bass and acid lurk in the background of “Fade-up” though the lead saxophone melody suggests the piece would make an ideal addition to a European crime caper soundtrack. In addition, “Cipher” pulls a Dabryesque beat into its celestial orbit where clapping beats collide with haunted synth atmospheres and electric guitar, “Dancing in Chains” layers chiming melodies and over a softly pounding shuffle, and “Volte-Face” slows the pace with languorous, piano-based hip-hop. All that and, with eight songs totaling thirty-eight minutes, Blink's admirably free of bloat too.

August 2007