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Kaki King
EVERYBODY LOVES YOU
(VELOUR)

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Itís not just this 23-year-old, five-foot-tall Brooklyn nativeís impressive chops that make her disc the debut guitar album of the year, though they are extraordinary. Through a combination of tapping, plucking, thumb-slapping, rubbing, and finger-picking her strings, King becomes a one-woman acoustic-guitar orchestra on these 11 original compositions.

But itís really her tunefulness that makes these numbers so appealing. Boasting a history in pop bands, she has no trouble building strong-boned melodies into the zippy, pulsing urban soundscape " Carmine Street, " or crafting " Night After Sidewalk, " a warm lullaby of soft tones and gently picked notes played at the pace of a slow post-midnight stroll under the stars. Sheís got a sense of humor, too: it comes across in the nursery-rhyme feel of the final, hidden track, " The Government, " which is named after her last rock band, and in the sprightly " Happy As a Dead Pig in the Sunshine. " The low tunings she uses keep her from falling into pristine folk territory, and they add all sorts of natural distortion to her acousticís string ó especially in " Close Your Eyes & Youíll Burst into Flames, " where her tapping technique also yields a stream of interesting overtones. Which means fans of adventurous genre-jumping guitarists like Fred Frith, Marc Ribot, Michael Hedges, Preston Reed, Tuck Andress, and Alex DiGrassi should all be able to embrace Kingís music.

(See " Live and on Record " on bostonphoenix.com for Tedís review of Kaki Kingís performance last Saturday at the House of Blues in Cambridge.)

BY TED DROZDOWSKI

Issue Date: April 3 - 10, 2003
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