Jeremy Rice – Legendary Fist of Takinawa

The album cover alone reflects Jeremy Rice’s unique musical and artistic sensibilities. His latest release bears a cover resembling a promotional poster for a 1970’s B level kung fu movie or a cover for a Fu Manchu paperback original. Many will find it eye-catching. The nine-song release highlights Rice’s all-around talents in a better frame than anything else this Canadian based artist has thus far recorded. It opens with the intelligent arrangement and airy pop rock powering “Johnny Rogers”.

His voice will be an acquired taste for some; anyone craving golden or velvet tones need not apply here. Rice, however, possesses an unique instrument thanks to his understated phrasing abilities, the unexpected emotional chords his voice captures, and the personable nature he adopts here.

Somebody Like You” is a natural choice for a second single. The steady accumulation of instruments, first piano, then voice coming into the mix with bass and drums soon behind gives this track a great design. It has a certain inevitability some listeners will disdain but many, like me, with find favor with because the fun is hearing how stylishly Rice arrives at the song’s payoff moments. Those are equally musical and lyrical in nature.

The arrangement has a relaxed appealing build and Rice’s sharp writing once again stands out. He has a command grip on pop song traditions, like unrequited love/desire, but he phrases them with distinctive gift for turn phrases. There may be nothing new under the sun, but there’s always fresh ways of saying it.

NME” has multiple meanings devoted music fans will notice in short order. His lyrical acumen is, once again, impressive and his voice dispels any misgivings listeners might harbor about handling rockier material. It is not particularly raucous, but it has a rougher texture than earlier tracks. He threads keyboard lines through the track as well and they are especially effective adding colorful lines in the song’s second half.

Dream Tonight” is rife with strong vocal harmonies throughout the entirety of the track, but a bouncy acoustic jangle defines the track more than any other single element. The track will evenly divide listeners about it being a pop highlight on the release or one of its few lighter throwaway numbers.

The album’s title track “The Legendary Fist of Takinawa” has a near classical slant to its keyboard driven opening. It shifts gears, however, in a flash and zips ahead as a fast-paced rocker flashing with sinewy lead lines. There’s a narrative quality to the song’s lyrics giving it a distinctive flavor. Jeremy Rice’s latest album is an invigorating pop songwriting clinic and wildly entertaining.

If you enjoyed a preview from the Legendary Fist of Takinawa, check out the official website for Jeremy Rice by clicking here. Give him a like on Facebook by clicking here & a follow on Twitter by clicking here.

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