No Complaints with the View
The first full-length CD offering from Jay Kaiser and Mandy Carter, No Complaints with the View is a testimonial to what good music should be - regardless of category or mainstream acceptance. Kaiser and Carter are not only good folks, but they're great folk rockers, though their humble attitude probably wouldn't admit to it. A self-produced and self-engineered effort (thanks to several hours spent by Kaiser sitting uncomfortably atop a Yoga ball while mixing), No Complaints is a 12-track folk fan's dream. It features all original songs and lyrics, interspersed with both acoustic and electric sounds. The duo's foundation is, of course, musically sound - anchored by the strength of both the lyrical quality and content, as well as by the strength of either's vocal skills. When you pair all this up with six-string acoustics, in addition to guest spots by harmonicas and mandolins, you've got a relaxing listen. But don't be fooled: the lighthearted lyrics are as introspective and questioning as they are entertaining and insightful. For example, one of my favorite verses comes from the View's first track, 'When I Think It's Me,' reading: 'I worry about things I can't change / So much that I forget what I can.' It's refreshing to find such solid songwriting in music today, and this is just a taste from Kaiser and Carter, whose lyrical themes run the gamut from love (lost and found) to self determination and growth. In fact, though Kaiser and Carter harmonize well and offer up relaxing melodies - the View is a mellow folk album - it's not to be snoozed on. There is a message of life intelligently woven throughout the tracks, which infusing the entire CD with an energetic zest that's rare to find in anyone's music these days. However, of the dozen songs, my favorite track is 'Greyhound,' and the reason is one of instrumentation. There is a mandolin on 'Greyhound' that provides that extra something which endears the track to my ears. It's very reminiscent of an approach used by folk rocker Bruce Hornsby (for those old enough to remember him), who used a mandolin to perfection. Though it's sparingly used, the mandolin's appearance in 'Greyhound' is the final musical piece of the puzzle, completing the picture-perfect song that, in my mind, encapsulates the album as a whole and, with Mandy's vocals, shines as the standout track. So, when you toss in the electric guitar touches, along with the different percussive instruments, Kaiser and Carter do an excellent job of filling out the variety of their sound. Furthermore, they switch up tempos often, keeping the beat moving along as the lyrics continue to impress. Jay and Mandy are the future of folk - their lyrical inventiveness and musical connectivity to what grabs a listener's ear effectively combine to make No Complaints with the View a must-add to your music library. -Brian Dukes Up and Coming Weekly.