A.J. Holmes "The King of the New Electric Hi-Life"
When musicians cast off their ficticious moniker and go back to their real name it is usually understood as a sign of becoming mature. They Came From the Stars, I Saw Them member Alexander Holmes, aka A.J. Holmes, formerly aka Vanishing Breed is mature enough though to not have to show any more signs of becoming mature it seems. Maybe that is why it says in the credits of his new CD ?Vanishing Breed ? Still There?.
For his second album on Germany?s Pingipung label, Holmes teamed up with pretty much the same backing band as on his previous album for Pingipung entitled ?Between Arrival and Departure? with one noteworthy addition because Holmes could additionally convince Anne Laplantine to co-produce and play on the album. On his new one ?The King of the New Electric Hi-Fi?, Holmes pretty much continues what shone through clearly on his previous album ? his love for traditional West-African music. For some reason though and despite ?The King? being a great summer album, Holmes? African influences do not come across as interestingly anymore as on the previous album. Maybe this is due to the lack of variety as compared to ?Between Arrival and Departure?.
Still, there are some excellent tunes on the new album, mostly when Holmes doesn?t sing like on the dense ?Still Nothing To Declare?. His style of singing is really subject to personal tastes. Judging for myself, it doesn?t do much for me. Holmes sort of changes between singing and chatting to himself, and especially when he starts speaking about his affection for Berlin and Germany and you hear the music to it, it needs some getting used to. A good aspect of Holmes? singing is that it?s very personal and auto-biographic which makes him very sympathetic. 6/10 -- Stephan Bauer (29 August, 2007)