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Ten Kens Ten Kens [album]

Ten Kens: Ten Kens“Canadian alt-rock quartet Ten Kens
  are preparing to shake up the UK
  scene with a planned tour, heralded
  by their self-titled and very agreeable
  album, Ten Kens...

OPENING ON A TERRIFIC NOTE getting louder and louder, Ten Kens start to win over UK music lovers right from their eponymous album's very first track, Bearfight, before racing off to the tangle of notes and interesting vocal sounds on Downcome Home.

Another fresh signing to the FatCat roster, Ten Kens' debut album, Ten Kens, is set for its worldwide release on September 15 (2008). The publicity machine describes it as "familiar yet idiosyncratic, with an already finely-honed sensibility towards conveying their own volatile mix of bittersweet melody and fantastic, spiked, lysergic alt-rock, Ten Kens traverse a wealth of emotional terrain.

"Lyrically oblique or cryptic, suggesting worlds of possibility, the album is by turns introspective and belligerent, shot through with a pensive air and a contrary swagger, relayed via cavernous reverb."

Thoroughly enjoyable and easy to listen to, Ten Kens are putting themselves out there with the greats and sing with stylish informality. We liked the Sixties-style cover of Ten Kens and each track is noteworthy with an in-your-face kind of confidence that just doesn't ruffle any feathers.

Back in 2003, friends Dean Tzenos (guitar) and Dan Workman (vocals) began collaborating and built on a shared affinity with music, jamming and rehearsing as a three-piece band with drummers coming and going for the first year.

Having decided to rent a townhouse to write and record an album entirely by themselves, they shut themselves away for over a year and didn't emerge until they had something tangible to work with. Once recorded, their creations were burned to disc and circulated. Following a spate of label interest, culminating in the signing to FatCat, they were joined by Lee Stringle (Bass) and Ryan Roantree (drums).

The four of them started playing shows and began to prepare to record their debut album proper — a record very much influenced by their earlier recordings, but sounding fresh and revitalised. Ten Kens is very much blessed by a collective drive and ambition that firmly places them in the realm of their contemporaries, recalling the likes of Liars, Black Mountain, Black Heart Procession and Arcade Fire.

Ten Kens has an innovative, subtle way of bursting into the limelight — the band has got to be noticed; but it is an artistic quality rather than a self-important one. The album, Ten Kens, is certain to project the band out onto centre stage with special emphasis on the fascinating Bearfight and the evocative Downcome Home with its retro folk/country-infused style. We loved the husky vocals on Y'all Come Back Now and the musical treatment.

The publicity machine goes on: "Recorded at Breakglass Studios in Montreal with Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Pretty Girls Make Graves), Ten Kens' brooding, West Coast psych-ringed oeuvre and the presence of the space seemed almost naturally aligned, but it was the recording process itself that dictated the shape of the record.

"Laid down in June 2007, the band recorded practically all day and all night for two weeks straight. The band's goal was simply to capture the spirit unique to each song, but the album naturally possesses a widescreen sense of drama that pervades the entire LP, the songs sitting together as a tangible, fully realised entity."

Hard work has clearly paid off for Ten Kens and the band is clearly determined to capitalise on a collective talent that promises to reap dividends.

Currently playing shows non-stop in and around their native Toronto, Ten Kens are set to widen their remit for the release of the album, with US and European tours currently in the planning stages.

Ten Kens' Ten Kens CD/LP/Digital is out on 15 September (2008) on FatCat.


1 Bearfight | 2 Downcome Home | 3 Refined | 4 Y'all Come Back Now | 5 Spanish Fly | 6 The Alternate Biker | 7 Prodigal Sum | 8 Worthless & Oversimplified Ideas | 9 The Whore Of Revelation | 10 Your Kids Will Know | 11 I Really Hope You Get To Retire

"We liked the Sixties-style cover of Ten Kens and each track is noteworthy with an in-your-face kind of confidence that just doesn't ruffle any feathers" — MotorBar

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