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Kyle Blake

Kid From Kansas
(self-released)

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On his debut EP, Kid From Kansas, bedroom recording artist Kyle Blake presents refreshingly traditional singer-songwriter pop without trendy digital treatments. His instrumentation and whispery tenor swell for emotional emphasis, and his lovelorn lyrics are earnest without being emo: Honestly, I'm not that funny/So please don't give me a slice of courtesy. That's from "California Ave.," the EP's strongest track, which starts out softly acoustic and explodes in a burst of electric guitar and Blake's anguished wail. Any of these seven songs could hold their own among mainstream pop successes such as Jason Mraz or the Fray. Weaknesses are few: "Parking Lot" breaks into a slightly awkward white-boy rap, and several songs extend a few minutes too long. But Blake's voice evokes youth and innocence, and his openhearted persona and baby face seem ready to endear him to sensitive and soon-to-be-swooning audiences.

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