Fear of Cheese
New York, New York
Nov 6, 2008
Buddahead's pop music is all about the songwriting. Led by
Raman Kia, this fourpiece plays radio-friendly, mainstream-ish
alternative pop/rock with a strong melodic quality. Kia himself
has been involved in major label songwriting before, and this
experience comes through in the polished nature of Ashes. Part
of this can also be attributed to the hand of Pete Glennister,
who has a long history in production and session playing.
The music itself, though more or less radio-ready, could benefit
from a less traditional sound. "Standing Still" and
opener "Ruin" exploit the Coldplay formula, while
"Strangest Most Beautiful" takes a major cue from Radiohead.
The production throughout is spotless, and the songwriting is
sufficiently infectious, although many songs have a frustrating sense
of ubiquity to them. Also troubling for an album such as this is a
lack of a hands-down best track. Every song on Ashes exudes a
sense of comforting familiarity after repeated listens,
but you won't find yourself humming any of the
songs independently. As it stands, anthemic "If I Tried" is
probably their best shot at a "single," but even so it seems to be
missing something that would bring it to another level. "Story of Our
Lives" also has potential as teen soap soundtrack fodder, although its
brand of sunset-esque acoustic pop is more than a little derivative.
As it stands, Ashes is pleasant but unmemorable - a pop
album that speaks volumes about Buddahead's potential as a
band, but fails to live up to expectations. Perhaps all Raman Kia
needs is some time to develop; I get the sense that, in time, he could
become a really great pop songwriter.
standing still live,
holding me back live
[Vitals: 9 tracks, distributed by