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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Kino is the new band from "The Urbane"'s frontman John Mitchell. Although sharing some common ground with the two albums by "The Urbane" this is something very different. For those unfamilar with them, "The Urbane" are a modern style rock band in the early "Foo Fighters" and "Radiohead" theme, although Kino are a rock band as well their music seems to be more "rounded". There are so many different styles of music on this album that it is hard to describe them all. For instance, the classic opener "Loser's day parade" (I think it's about the emptiness of life on the rat race) starts with catchy agressive guitar riffs, before going into acapello style funky singing. This then returns to the original riff but this time with a guitar and then a keyboard solo over the original sound. After another bout of solo singing the song ends in a rousing repeated lyric followed by a soaring guitar solo. Most of the songs are generally "Rock" in style although each differs greatly in its style, this album is likely to draw great longevity from this. The final song is something special, a touching piano ballad which would make a good single. In conclusion this is an excellent thinking man's rock band, it's complicated yet still catchy, aggressive, and reflective in equal measure. One thing to remember, "Kino" has been touted as a "super group" due to the inclusion of the bassist from "Marillion", the keyboardist from "It-Bites" and the ex-drummer from "Porcupine tree", and the guitarist from "Arena" and "The Urbane". Fans of these bands may well buy this album for the names alone, however if you do not consider yourself a fan of these bands DO NOT WORRY, this music is strong enough to find an audience without standing on any shoulders.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 August 2005
Because of the people involved the main reason anyone is likely to investigate this album is if they are a fan of Arena (John Mitchell), It Bites(John Beck), Marillion (Pete Trewavas) or Porcupine Tree(Chis Maitland). It's true, the guitar work sounds very like Arena, there are lots of poppy, quirky It Bites moments and some parts do sound like Steve Hogarth should be singing them. But, as often happens, the child may inherit some features of its parents, but it also develops its own identity. In this case, Kino lean much more towards Pop than any of the above bands, often sounding more like Joe Jackson or Sting. The songs do have a progressive element though - usually in the solo middle sections. This is most evident in the nine minute opener which sounds a lot like Spocks Beard towards the end, lest we also forget that Trewavas was also in Transatlantic with Spock's Neal Morse. So, it's more Pop than Prog, but that doesn't mean it's rubbish. The songs are well written, catchy and with that elusive property that makes you want to play them again. In then end, like It Bites before them, Kino probably fall squarely between two stools - too prog for a pop band and too pop for prog rock. Time will tell, Kino expect to be around longer than most supergroups.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2005
One more prog super group, with members from Arena, Marillion, Porcupine Tree and It Bites, with the main difference that all these band members are from England. The pillars of Kino are keyboard player John Beck (It Bites) and vocalist/guitarist John Mitchell (Arena).
Picture, the first album produced by this group is very impressive, leaning slightly to the heavier side of neo-progressive at times, particularly with the impressive (Spock's Beardish) opening track, Losers Day Parade. Most of the rest of the album sounds more like post Fish Marillion with some Arena and Genesis influences and with plenty of good hooks and melodies throughout. Quieter moments are usually held together by Beck's keyboards and Mitchell's impressive and broad-ranged vocals.

The fact that this is not a full-blown progressive album may disappoint some listeners. But for what it is — a rock album with progressive influences - it is very good indeed. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 27 February 2005
Kino is the new band from "The Urbane"'s frontman John Mitchell. Although sharing some common ground with the two albums by "The Urbane" this is something very different. For those unfamilar with them, "The Urbane" are a modern style rock band in the early "Foo Fighters" and "Radiohead" theme, although Kino are a rock band as well their music seems to be more "rounded". There are so many different styles of music on this album that it is hard to describe them all. For instance, the classic opener "Loser's day parade" (I think it's about the emptiness of life on the rat race) starts with catchy agressive guitar riffs, before going into acapello style funky singing. This then returns to the original riff but this time with a guitar and then a keyboard solo over the original sound. After another bout of solo singing the song ends in a rousing repeated lyric followed by a soaring guitar solo. Most of the songs are generally "Rock" in style although each differs greatly in its style, this album is likely to draw great longevity from this. The final song is something special, a touching piano ballad which would make a good single. In conclusion this is an excellent thinking man's rock band, it's complicated yet still catchy, aggressive, and reflective in equal measure. One thing to remember, "Kino" has been touted as a "super group" due to the inclusion of the bassist from "Marillion", the keyboardist from "It-Bites" and the ex-drummer from "Porcupine tree", and the guitarist from "Arena" and "The Urbane". Fans of these bands may well buy this album for the names alone, however if you do not consider yourself a fan of these bands DO NOT WORRY, this music is strong enough to stand alone. The CD ships with an excellent DVD of a live performance in Cologne. An excellent inclusion in an already excellent package!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2006
Prog-Rock in its many forms has been in serious decline since the mid eighties suffering it seems from an image problem and labouring under that damning of all labels, "pretentiousness". Its not cool to be musicianly or to know how to play something in other than 4/4 or to want to say something lasting longer than 6 minutes. Such things are considered decidely boring and self indulgent particularly by the music press. The upshot of this kind of musical facism is that is we have a lot of bands out there who are popular in their English, parochial kind of way but have a severely limited musical vocabulary and don't travel very well.

However, the tide is slightly turning as we are seeing bands like the Mars Volta and Porcupine Tree begin to get the recogintion they deserve as musicians that are doing something original and artiscally valid both here and abroad. Kino seem to be part of this gradual upturn away from the predicatble strumming guitar combo consisting of young skinny white boys that regularly appear on the front covers of NME and alike.

But in a way Kino are hardly new, in the sense that band consist of various members and ex members of notable prog inspired bands of the past and present including It Bites, Marillion, Porcupine Tree and Arena. Suspicions might be aroused at such a combination as an opportunity for mutual ego grafication with dollops of unweildy guitar and keyboard solos and lashings of nonesensical lyrics. The result, however, I am glad to say is far from that terrifying reality. What in effect you get is a breath of fresh air. Each track is crisp, well delivered and well played - They produce an accesible sound with a slight pop sensibilty but with plenty of precison and power, mercifully free of unwordly concepts and musical flab. The album is pitch perfect with each member making a well balanced contribution to the well worked songs. Is this the future of Prog? Well, maybe, but one thinks that their advanced ages might prevent them from reaching a wide audience. Still, in the end, it is their pedigree as musicians and songwriters that count in the end and judging by the fruit of their labours this proves their vindication. Long live Prog! Highly Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2005
It was at about the time when Losers Day Parade reached its epic climax that a thought crossed my mind. How can Kino possibly be this good? Considering this is only the first track on the album, such a revelation wasn't half bad. I'd been waiting for this album for a long time, being a big fan of singer and guitarist John Mitchell's other band, The Urbane, but I was never expecting them to be as good as this. As a band made up of members of prog bands (It Bites, Marillion, Arena), there are certainly prog influences in the album, particularly evident in parts of Losers Day Parade, but the music is quintessentially rock and as such could appeal to just about anybody. All the members of the band touted as a "supergroup" have most certainly proved themselves worthy of being described in such glowing terms, particularly Mitchell, whose guitar playing is once again immaculate and whose powerful vocals are full of emotion and expression. Highlights of the album (which are extremely hard to select as the overall quality of the album is extraordinarily high) include Losers Day Parade, a constantly changing song with powerful lyrics and a joy to listen to the whole way through, the beautiful, very much rock songs Letting Go and Telling Me To Tell You, both of which have great melodies and gorgeous singing from Mitchell, the quiet and quite prog ballad-esque All You See and the emotional Picture, a gentle and mournful conclusion to fifty five minutes of just about the best music you'll ever hear. I would strongly recommend this album to any fan of rock or prog music of any sort and urge you not to miss out on a true masterpiece. As for Kino's future, on the basis of this album, the sky is the limit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2008
hey this is bloody marvelous - you ought to have it! John Mitchell is an outtasight guitar player - and the band fuse heavy rock with a beatle-esque pop sensibility - if it doesn't get you dancing then you're made of different stuff than me :-)
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on 27 February 2005
Kino is the new band from "The Urbane"'s frontman John Mitchell. Although sharing some common ground with the two albums by "The Urbane" this is something very different. For those unfamilar with them, "The Urbane" are a modern style rock band in the early "Foo Fighters" and "Radiohead" theme, although Kino are a rock band as well their music seems to be more "rounded". There are so many different styles of music on this album that it is hard to describe them all. For instance, the classic opener "Loser's day parade" (I think it's about the emptiness of life on the rat race) starts with catchy agressive guitar riffs, before going into acapello style funky singing. This then returns to the original riff but this time with a guitar and then a keyboard solo over the original sound. After another bout of solo singing the song ends in a rousing repeated lyric followed by a soaring guitar solo. Most of the songs are generally "Rock" in style although each differs greatly in its style, this album is likely to draw great longevity from this. The final song is something special, a touching piano ballad which would make a good single. In conclusion this is an excellent thinking man's rock band, it's complicated yet still catchy, aggressive, and reflective in equal measure. One thing to remember, "Kino" has been touted as a "super group" due to the inclusion of the bassist from "Marillion", the keyboardist from "It-Bites" and the ex-drummer from "Porcupine tree", and the guitarist from "Arena" and "The Urbane". Fans of these bands may well buy this album for the names alone, however if you do not consider yourself a fan of these bands DO NOT WORRY, this music is strong enough to stand alone. The CD ships with an excellent DVD of a live performance in Cologne. An excellent inclusion in an already excellent package!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2005
Being an It Bites fan, I have been slightly frustrated by the lack of an LP/tour since they reformed 2 years ago. Having kept an eye on their website, I knew about Kino but didn't really take much notice. Having recently returned from overseas, I started to take an interest again in music. I decided to buy this LP on the back of It Bites and Marillion.
Firstly, can I say that this is probably the It Bites Lp that never was.......it's brilliant. Melodic, catchy with a bit of prog thrown in. If you are into the pop/rock side of prog music, this is the LP for you.
Since I brought the LP I can't stop playing it, much to the disgust of my wife. Losers day parade starts the LP off in excellent style but Leave a light on and letting go are just superb. After a couple of good tracks, Kino let rip with 3 greats; Perfect Tense and Room for Two are just stunning but they pull out all the stops on Holding On. This track is just excellent and worth the £10 alone. CD, MP3 player, Computer, this track is on them all. If you don't believe anything that I've written so far, please listen to this track and I dare you not to get hooked by it especially after the second chorus.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I was initially in two minds about this album. On the one hand this collaboration of John Mitchell (Arena), Pete Trewavas (Marillion), John Becks (It Bites) and Chris Maitland (ex Porcupine Tree) looked good on paper. But initial reports were of this being very neo-prog, moving into areas of near AOR and even pop! So I was a bit cautious when I first put this on. But I was very pleasantly surprised to say the least. This is extremely melodic and very pleasant to listen to. I don't mean that in a derogatory sense, but there is a very positive vibe to the songs. The majority of the lead vocals are by John Mitchell and he has a surprisingly assured vocal presence. The musicianship is excellent as to be expected, though Chris Maitland's drums are not as intricate and ingenious compared to his past work with Porcupine Tree. But I assume that is due to the material here requiring a simpler and more straightforward approach.
There is quite a contemporary, almost poppy feel to the songs. There is nothing retro-progressive here. If anything, comparisons to 80's bands such as The Police would not go far wrong. Though everything is given a slight progressive edge which keeps things interesting and distinctive. Melodically this is a very strong album, with each song having strong hooks which remain in the mind well after each listen. The opener, "Losers Day Parade" is at 9 minutes the lengthiest and most prog orientated track, with excellent bass work by Pete Trewavas and an almost Beatles feel in some parts. "Letting Go" has an almost folksy quality to it. John Beck takes the lead vocal for the excellent "Swimming in Women" which is tense and quirky. But the quality of the songwriting and performances are fresh and sustained throughout.
I think the members of Kino have used this platform to try something away from the prog rock mainstream, flexing their songwriting skills in a more rarefied manner to come up with something melodically very strong. In that, they have succeeded very well, with elements of their individual prog roots coming through now and then. This album is not what I expected and I am more than pleased with the results. This seems to be a long term project rather than just a one off, so hopefully we can expect more in the future. With Arena's latest album and this under his belt, this has been a pretty good year so far for John Mitchell and it's only March!
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