Kino- Picture (Inside Out)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. Losers Day Parade
2. Letting Go
3. Telling Me To Tell You
4. Swimming In Women
5. People
6. All You See
7. Perfect Tense
8. Room For Two
9. Holding On
10. Picture

Kino, the latest progressive supergroup on the block, displays a wide range of influences – from neo-prog to Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles to new wave to hard rock. And that’s only on the first song of the band’s debut release, Picture.

Kino is comprised of Arena guitarist John Mitchell, who also handles Picture'svocals; It Bites keyboardist John Beck; Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas and former Porcupine Tree drummer Chris Maitland. This blend of musical backgrounds leads to an oddly retro disc.

The nine minute opener, “Losers Day Parade,” covers quite a bit of ground, as mentioned above. The band throws everything into the number and it would have been quite easy for them to lose the plot with all of the song’s stylistic changes, yet they manage to keep it together quite well.

“Letting Go” sounds very much like early Asia with Mitchell sounding eerily like John Wetton. The track also has a new wave feel to it as well.

The Wetton influences continue on “Telling Me To Tell You,” a song that reminds me of Wetton’s late 70’s band, UK. The keyboards on this number conjure up memories of Eddie Jobson’s playing, yet the choruses are again new wave.

Current progressive influences appear on “Swimming In Women,” a song that sounds reminiscent of Parallel Or 90 Degrees. Mitchell adds some biting guitar to this piece.

The mood stays contemporary with the Spock’s Beard feel of “People.” Beck takes center stage here with Mitchell adding heavy guitar chords behind him.

“All You See” and its AOR stylings follows. Quiet verses give way to power ballad choruses with Mitchell providing a Steve Rothery-like guitar solo.

New wave returns with “Perfect Tense.” Beck plays some airy keyboards while Mitchell offers a catchy vocal.

“Room For Two” and its driving rhythm reminds me of some of the shorter songs on IQ’s Subterranea. Another catchy tune.

“Holding On” carries on the IQ tone, but here, Mitchell’s vocal delivery comes across like ex-Genesis singer Ray Wilson. The middle of the song gives the band a chance to stretch out instrumentally as Mitchell plays a flashy solo.

The title track, a lovely though brief piano/vocal piece, closes out the disc. Some strings in the background are a perfect touch.

While Picture is an interesting listen, it has two major problems. As you’ve probably noticed, most of the songs remind me of somebody else. No new ground is really covered here, which is a bit disappointing given the talent of the musicians involved.

The other problem is that Maitland, an incredible drummer who’s back in a band setting after spending most of his post-Porcupine Tree time playing in London musicals, sounds buried in the mix. I think making the drums more prominent would have added considerably to Picture.

Despite these faults, Picture is still an enjoyable listen as it’s quite fun to try to spot the influences on any given track. And I have a feeling that all of these songs will come across much better in a live setting. Now if only a live disc is released of Kino’s March European tour…

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