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Kevin Seconds

Kayunk. That's the sound of ten thousand jaws dropping in collective disbelief. Jaws belonging to rabid straight-edge punk kids who grew up on the polemical hardcore of the legendary 7 Seconds. Their jaws have dropped in reaction to the sounds coming from their stereos, into which they've just dropped the new disc by Kevin Seconds, who has fronted 7 Seconds for so many years. Why? Well, he sounds sort of like a happy-go-lucky surfer.

Let's hope the old-school fans can keep an open mind though, because Seconds's change of pace has led him to produce some delightfully warm acoustic pop music -- sort of what you might expect from a less glum Elliott Smith. Yep, it's definitely folky, loose, lo-fi stuff, just a guy, his acoustic guitar, his four-track, and his emotions. Seconds's voice is perfect for the music, amazing really, when you think of his caustic rantings on all those 7 Seconds anthems. Here, though, it's thin, fragile, and tuneful, beautifully complementing his midtempo guitar strum.

The unveiling of Kevin Seconds, folk-pop impresario, came with the release of his 1997 full-length, Stoudamire. On 2001's terrific Heaven's Near Wherever You Are, he proved it was no joke. From that album, "Her Secret World" is a whimsical ode to an apparently imaginary friend, "Stumbling into Ben" a catchy piece of tender pop. Recommended.

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