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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars warm and quite lovely
I was a bit underwhelmed by this album when I first listened to it. I thought it was a bit overproduced and maybe even a bit bland. Bland is a very subjective term though isn't it? I doubt the thousands of people that funded this release through the Sellaband website, or the scores of people on these very pages that clearly love this album would ever call it bland...
Published on 22 Jan 2008 by Curlynob

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not original
This is a pleasant CD with pleasant songs. The ideas are derived from many sources - much sounds familiar. One sound that keeps hitting me is John Meyer. That's no bad thing - I like John Meyer's stuff. I like some of the bass parts which are economic, laid back and smooth. I think that's one main problem with the CD it lacks dynamics.
Published on 19 Jan 2008 by D Deacon


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3.0 out of 5 stars Cubworld: Step Lightly, Create Out Loud, 19 April 2008
By 
Benjamin Harrison (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
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A relatively brief 10 tracks comprise this effort by Cubworld, which seems to drift uncertainly between easy-listening, pop, soft rock, and some sort of hip-hop or other. It's perhaps a bad sign that initial listens of the album, as a whole, drag on unexcitingly despite its short running time. In fact the album's variation is either its real failing, or success; those who appreciate the various genres, in which Cubworld only seems to dabble, may find a lot here to like. On the other hand, even those who favour other artists of Cubworld's ilk may find the album is all the worse for the hip-hop and similar elements it combines.

1. "Rocked Out"
A good start, uplifting but at the same time subdued; essentially a simple pop/soft rock track that would be easy to listen to on a summer day.

2. "Amsterdam"
Sleepy and meandering, the second track contrasts the first by seeming rather suited to rainy days spent indoors, and isn't at all bad.

3. "For Love"
Rather weakly-sung, if "Amsterdam" was sleepy, track 3 is positively comatose, and seems to jar somewhat after track 1's bright and lively start. Bland and tiresome.

4. "Lights Fade"
Following a similar vocal and musical theme to "Rocked Out", Cubworld's softly-sung, upbeat optimism returns here, though whether it's uplifting or simply weak will depend largely on the listener's opinion; this reviewer found it to be the latter.

5. "Wise Words"
Mid-way through the album, Cubworld's sound suddenly becomes a slightly awkward hip-hop act, and either solidifies the album as a varied and accessible collection of genres, or inconsistent, jarring nonsense; the lyrics, in any case, leave a lot to be desired.

6. "You Make Me Feel"
Returning again to a more familiar sound, track 6 is more repetitive than catchy, and the listener is given the impression that just about anyone could've written these lyrics in all of five minutes.

7. "Start Over"
Track 7's cringe-worthy intro does the album no favours lyrically or musically, and only the most dedicated fans of Cubworld are likely to resist skipping ahead to...

8. "This Is Life"
Like track 3, "This Is Life" meanders through slow strumming and predictable lyrics -- the name of this song seems inappropriate, incidentally -- to reach its conclusion, and had no affect whatsoever on this reviewer, though it's certainly an improvement on "Start Over".

9. "My World"
A far more distinct and stylish attempt, track 9 is possibly Cubworld at his best, and it's a real shame that the entire album wasn't sung and produced more in this direction -- it's neither very original nor breathtakingly performed, but it is melodic, consistent and competent in its genre. Certainly my favourite track, and the highlight of the album.

10. "Who I Am"
"Step Lightly..." ends well with track 10, with both lyrics and vocal performance seeming to take a significant turn for the better; and as the album draws to a close, one has to ask: Why was the entire album not of this quality?

It's a shame that the real quality on this 10-track album is the minority, and not the majority; had the production been tighter, and the artist's strengths been focused on rather than diluting the album with weak attempts at ballads and hip-hop influences, this might have been something meaningful and memorable. As it is, three good soft rock tracks on a ten-track album just aren't enough to recommend it on, unless the sample tracks particularly grab your attention. Before writing this review, I spent the previous day playing Paul Weller's "Wild Wood", and so perhaps comparisons here were inevitable: "Step Lightly, Create Out Loud" is, in the end, artlessly average.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bold steps, creative sounds., 18 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. S. O'kane "snagii" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
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The story of Cubworld - the non de plume of singer-songwriter Jake Kongaika - is one of those stories that if it were fiction would be quite hard to believe. Kongaika (now a Utah resident) was born on the South Pacific island of Tonga and moved to both Hawaii and Samoa during his formative years. The influences of their musical traditions and 40 years of Western popular music history led to him picking up a guitar in his college years, which in turn led him to write his own material.

Even more incredible than the personal story above is how he got this chance-in-a-lifetime to show the world what he can do. An new online talent website (Sellaband) gave a number of artists the chance to promote & sell their own albums if they managed to raise enough cash from curious fans. 686 did and raised the necessary $50,000 for Jake to start recording this debut album. Was it worth it? The answer is (overall) a resounding yes!

There was a fear - on this reviewer's part - that such hype would not match the material on offer. I was really suprised at how strong the set was overall, a good batch of songs for a debut album. There are shades of Goldrush-era Neil Young (For Love) and big Beatles grandiosity (Rocked Out) but plenty enough originality to avoid comparisions with others (listen to the effects-laden Start Over, with a gorgeous melody on top of all kinds of trickery). On top of this is the beautiful, touching Amsterdam which is a favourite of mine at the moment.

It would have got 5 stars (and maybe on another day I would have done just that) but there's a very slight sliver of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers spoiling the party. The gentle rocking sound of the album overall is marred by a very obvious attempt to try their schtick on one, perhaps two songs. Wise Words sticks out like a sore thumb on this album. It just doesn't work and should have been dropped to preserve the warm glow of the set overall. My World almost goes the same way but finishes with a lovely flourish to spare its blushes.

But, hey, let's focus on the positive instead: it's only February but we are looking at possibly one of the best debuts of the year already. Strong, intimate, gutsy songs from a prodigious talent with a real future ahead of him if he keeps writing like this. Sellaband have really helped a great talent 'step' off the marks. Now, create LOUDER Cubworld!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Promising Debut That's Worth a Few Plays..., 14 Feb 2008
By 
G. J. Oxley "Gaz" (Tyne & Wear, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Not normally my thing at all this. And the fact he'd been compared to Jack Johnson put me off listening to it.

But, having been sent a copy, I had to provide a review. Initially, however, I couldn't find anything either particularly positive or negative to say about it: it came across as no more than polite, safe AOR, with only the odd affecting moment amid the wash of mediocrity. Plenty of strummed acoustic guitars, the odd stroked piano and some rocking Coldplay guitar to spice up the heard-them-all-before melodies. Ho hum.

But then I began to enjoy the odd track - `Rocked Out' which, ahem, rocks; `For Love' which sounds as if it's sung in a cathedral, and is a very pretty ballad; and `Wise Words' which combines acoustic reggae and mainstream rock with a bit of rap thrown in.

It isn't the greatest album in the world, but sustained playing reveals a myriad subtleties underneath the surface detail. There's not a single bad track on it even if there's nothing truly remarkable here. But hey, it's early days: this is the man's debut album.
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In summary, it's still more bland-on-bland than `Blonde on Blonde', but it's very competently written, performed and produced. You can tell it's had money spent on it - the record company obviously has faith in the artist developing into something special, which could very well happen.

Cub classifies himself as `Acoustic, ambient, soul, electronic' so you can see where he's coming from. If this sounds intriguing to you then this album is definitely worth a listen or two.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Derivative, but in the best possible way, 14 Feb 2008
By 
Robbie Swale - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
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It's true, Cubworld is a bit like a cross between Jack Johnson and Coldplay, but in the best sense of the word 'cross', and without the usual connotations associated with that term.

Cubworld's voice is not unique - it does indeed sound a bit like Johnson - but it's a great voice. It's soft on the ear, and expressive. The songs are a bit like Johnson on a larger scale - what would happen of Jack Johnson decided to make an album of songs that could fill stadiums and festivals, and the Coldplay connection comes because the album is for the most part soft rock, based around pianos and echoey guitars.

But it's a shame to talk about what is a strong debut offering only in comparisons. Cubworld has written songs here which you will really enjoy listening to. Opener, Rock Out, has some lovely lyrics, set to the music in such a way as to make you really appreciate the rhythm of the words. It is the perfect way to start the album. The second song, Amsterdam, is possibly, in its piano-based simplicity, at the same time the most Coldplay and the best track on this album.

My only real criticism of this album is that it lacks any serious cutting edge, and any songs that make you sit up and go 'wow'. But that doesn't stop it being good album - in some ways, I suppose this makes it a bit like Parachutes without Yellow, or In Between Dreams without Better Together. For that reason I find it hard to believe Cubworld will break the UK charts with anything off this album, but he has a potentially big future, and I wish him all the best.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cub your enthusiasm, 4 Feb 2008
By 
C. CAMPBELL "tagatha" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
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From the wistful picture of the beach on the front cover to the first jangle of guitars on opening track 'Rocked out', you could be forgiven for thinking that Cubworld belongs to that growing pack of laconic western troubadors who are as likely to go for a surf as they are to sing you a song.

But I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Jake Kongaika's songs, whilst seemingly chilled out and happy on the surface, fortunately lack the saccarine lyrics of Jack Johnson. 'I just can't handle/everything you're throwing at me...Bloodstained promises/I don't know who you think you are' he sings on opener 'Rocked out', yep - here is a fellah with a genuine gift for the message behind the song as well as crafting catchy pop tunes to play them against.

Some of his lyrical content at times, much like his youthful pop vocal, needs the benefit of experience and time to come to fruition. But that is what is exciting about emerging talent like Cubworld, because you can see that he has bags of potential.

As well as the jangly guitar pop fare, we range through beautiful piano ballads ('For Love'), Anthemic Indie rock that you would not be surprised to hear on a Snow Patrol album ('Lights Fade') and then the Hip-hop flavoured 'Wise words'....which unfortunately is where it all goes a bit wrong for me.

I can appreciate what the artist is trying to do here, and no doubt it will be a summer smash, but the people who buy this as a single would largely not appreciate the rest of the album. It sounds like the Chilli Peppers' Anthony Kiedis after a night out with Gwen Steffani. Which is all great, but then we get the obligatory rap in there which really overcooks things. It also narrows the demographic somewhat to the 15-25 crowd.

At first I wasn't hearing a single, but after a few good listens the excellent 'Lights Fade' has to be my vote - it will appeal to the indie crowd this side of the Atlantic as well as in the Americas.

The whole album lasts just under 40 mins, which is perfect for a debut like this, and Cubworld has done a good job of showing off a range of his styles and influences. The drawbacks may just be that instead of widening his appeal that it alienates some of his potential audiences. The 'less is more' approach might have been better to begin with.

All in all, a very nice little album, and I have more than a feeling that we'll be hearing his name mentioned in the same breath as Johnson, Ben Harper very soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't stick in my memory, 19 Mar 2008
By 
Big Bad Bill "Big Bad Bill" (Somwhere on the Celtic Fringe) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
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I was a bit underwhelmed by this album. I thought it was a bit bland, nothing terrible, nothing that stands out as great. Opinions on music is very subjective and I bet there will be loads of people who either think it is terrible or great? I loaded this on to my Ipod, listened to it again, and again, and have not really changed my mind. It has stayed in my itunes library, but is no longer on my Ipod. Just doesn't excite me. Having listened to it several times, I can honestly say none of the songs sticks in my memory.
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5.0 out of 5 stars South Sea sounds, 11 Feb 2008
By 
Tramps like us "Guitar bass and drums" (Surrey England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
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This is a very pleasant album - there you go one man's career damned by faint praise !!
I should explain though - this is a very summery album and may not have benefitted by having been released in the winter. Listening to the album as a whole (which I have done on several occasions now)it all fits together as a whole 40 minute exercise in warmth and good feelings. He is not afraid to try different styles - there's a definite calypso tinge to some of the songs and a gentle rap on "Wise words". For people who HAVE to have labels on their music (and why - just listen and enjoy) I would class this as "superior pop music". Some people will just hear the reggae influences and others will protest that "That rap song just doesn't fit" but listen again and it does fit. I've never heard Jack Johnson but I would imagine that this is something akin to what he sounds like. There's some very gentle well played acoustic guitar on some tracks and on others he does rock out a little bit more but the whole fits together well and I hope it's a big hit (though judging my the musical tastes of most of today's youth it stands damn all chance because it's well played,not aggressive and the lead singer isn't that pretty). If I was promoting this band I would get them on to an open air bill in the summer and pray that the weather is good - they could be huge
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, Yes, Yes, 20 Jan 2008
By 
Paul Madge (Uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a superb album - I didn't have clue as to who Cubworld were until I got hold of this disc. It shows talent doesn't always rise to the top of the charts and how deceptive that can be. Even at first listening it is a compelling blend of superb lyrics and flowing melodies. I understand there is a limited press of only 5000 CD copies of this - buy one now and you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Piece Of History In The Making, 3 Jan 2008
The first of many albums by the new, and rising, star Cubworld. Crowdsourced over at Sellaband.com, Cubworld was the second Artist to make $50000 to record his dream, and this is one of a limited run of 5000 of Step Lightly: Create Out Loud.
This will delight and move you with the Cub's masterful song writing and magical delivery, only surpassed by catching him playing it live!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't stand it, 1 Mar 2008
This review is from: Step Lightly: Create Out Loud (Audio CD)
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I'll be perfectly honest with you - I couldn't stand to listen to this album long enough to do the track-by-track breakdown that people have come to expect with music reviews. Some of it is passable generica-pop, other parts are tiresome hiphop. Since most people like one or the other of those genres (rather than both), you'd be advised to give this a miss.
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