Canada's Talent

I'd be lying if I said I can name some specific major influences on Kevin Brereton, there seems to be a huge gap in between the genres he splices with his rhythmic reggae, acoustic induced rock, and electronic influence that are pasted under his socially hip-hop aesthetics. While the pronunciation of k-os is "chaos" it's true meaning is 'Knowledge of Self'. Much like those two terms he does endow his music in both of those philosophies. His chaotic see-sawing of musical expansiveness knows no bounds whatsoever, but his socially adept and poignant lyrical stature aren't exactly forgettable at all. Understandably his style hasn't changed from his debut years ago, while Joyful Rebellion remains to be his best work to date Yes! still shows what makes him so interesting. Canadians sure haven't forgotten about his multi-cultural musical gears, but the rest of the world are reminded with Yes! why exactly he should be noticed.

You hear many people make statements in every genre about an artist's new record as being a "breath of fresh air"; k-os has been living that statement since he started creating his own musical highway of elusiveness. Though his 4th album's cover indicates exactly what he's been doing to the very genre he's apparently incorporated with, it still feels a bit unfair that he hasn't quite reached a high on popularity within the States or anywhere else (excluding Canada). The cover could be the clearest signal of his sound. In one hand he carries a paint roller, that could be interpreted as a changing of the guard, changing the style or the rules of the room (in this case a genre). In the other hand he carries a synthesizer and on the wall a black acoustic guitar sits, all of these landmarks on Yes!'s cover shows his variety and signal what k-os is all about.

The man's mission certainly is to be able to stretch the perception of the genre itself and expand more entrances to join him in his own revolt of hip-hop. He still remains to be the lone noticeable soldier on the battlefield, but it obviously does not bother him one bit. He still carries his country's pride on his sleeve whether discussing their problems or triumphs, either way k-os brings balance within his melting pot of musicianship. K-os' style is noticeably ingrained within his schizophrenic hip-hop lyricism, drum breaks that sometimes border on breakcore categories (rarely), exotic instruments, acoustic guitar movements, and gimmicky albeit effective violin movements are all exhibited in Yes!. "Astronaut", shows k-os' prowess in any department he delves into, melding all of those factors into one song. Most of his work relates to his social beliefs on his home country and on Yes!, like I said he takes a liking to the city of Toronto.

Brereton's latest album still travels from one end of the spectrum to another, with the only constant being k-os' vocals. Fortunately he's still tolerable after all these years and though some would be quick to say k-os is an alternative hip-hop style it still feels like that would be a cop out. His embrace of different genres, loves, and culture within the Canadian border and within his family ties has been his strongest selling point from day one and unfortunately for him some that can't stomach that will never accept him for what he is. At this point there isn't anything astonishingly new for those people to hear if they've already decided on their status with k-os.

Every one of k-os' albums has a certain charm to them and although Joyful Rebellion remains to be his best work to date he has yet to slip up substantially. Still showing the charm and type of creativeness that brought him to the attention - Yes!'s "Uptown Girl" is straight off of a Shocking Blues' song "Love Buzz", made popular by grunge group Nirvana and although it would seem uninventive it is entirely different than its predecessors. Only taking the bass for the majority of the ride, k-os' ambitions and entanglements of various instruments from violins, distorted guitars, and piano meld the song into his own; with each passing minute a progression within the song takes another drastic difference, enough to keep you interested. Yes! may not be k-os' best, but it still shows he loves what he does, even if he still hasn't quite accomplished what he may be trying to do it's still fun, after all that's what it's all about.

Grade: B-


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