There are basically two established routes for a musician to choose from when making an album: it can be innovative in form or novel in content. That’s not to suggest that the two paths can’t cross within a single album, or that an artist isn’t free to mix the two together at will, but these two strains form the approaches for most of what we would call “popular” music today.
The Kettle Black’s new album, Love is an Absolute, is mostly an album of the content variety, with a few flourishes of form thrown in for seasoning. Unfortunately, as the flourishes (“All Aboard” and the righteous two bass attack of “F.A.Q”) end up being the best bits, the rest of the album never really goes anywhere. The problem isn’t that Love is an Absolute covers shop-worn material, but that the material is covered in such a shop-worn way. A content-oriented album is a journey, and successful ones are unique. One way of gauging the success of an artistic journey is to notice how long the album stays with you after a listen, and unfortunately for the Kettle Black, this time around it was mostly in one ear and out the other.