Review – “Pronounced: /Ke-Ka-Gi/” – Kakagi

reviewed by Eleni Armenakiskakagi-pronounced-ke-ka-gi-ep-cover

You have to do a bit of digging to find out anything about Winnipeg band, Kakagi, who’ve made their debut with the helpfully named Pronounced: /Ke-Ka-Gi/. The quartet are still introducing themselves to the world, despite technically being a band for almost a year.

Bandmates Jacob Brodovsky, Max Brodovsky and Jonathan Corobow first got together as a Weakerthans cover band after brothers Max and Jacob returned from Ontario. It was the introduction of one song that turned the band towards originals, and the eventual addition of Jesse Popeski, their “musical director,” as they’ve called the lead guitarist.

Despite their low-key start, the bandmates aren’t strangers to putting themselves out there—Jacob has already dabbled in a solo release while Max put out a Ted Talk in his early teens. Popeski’s also played the Winnipeg musical circuit, teaming up with Beatox & Sir Luc and the Dukes, as well as Grace Hrabi.

Their latest project sees them being described as a folk-rock love child of Neil Young and The Weakerthans, although the band cops to sometimes being a little more rock—and sometimes a little more folk. Their EP has a touch of both and a considerable helping of whimsy and an almost nostalgic flavour—especially on single “Spadina Streetcar.”

“The Inbetweener” captures just a bit of the bewilderment boldly and crassly displayed in the British show of the same name. Melodic notes cross with a touch of a warble as the song moves from folk to rock, looking back and confronting the confusion that comes for us when we get stuck in between.

Single “Spadina Streetcar” is a friendly ode that’s likely familiar to more than a few Torontonians, charting the car’s route as it follows the tracks down Spadina and calls out to intersections, shops and stops. There’s a Postal Service like touch to the bouncing rhythm and near-falsetto that fills the line, “I know you’re waiting for me at the station,” with just a hint of romance and adventure.

It’s all rock for “Small Town,” a track that runs counter to expectation as it finds the positive even if it kicks out with lines like, “Like a small town, you forgot about me.” As the closer to Pronounced: /Ke-Ka-Gi/, it rounds out a story of coming home—full of questions about what to do next, longing for what was left behind, and the slow rediscovery of all that was good, and sometimes bad, about the place that’s always been home.

Top Track: “Spadina Streetcar”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)

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