I do not often stumble across a musician who lists John Barry and Tears for Fears among their influences. Finding out that a wide range of inspiration was responsible for Kicklighter’s Paper Planes, Vol. 1 was less surprising. It is an album that channels different styles in a way that befits their unique creator.
Kicklighter is the moniker of Everett Young, a songwriter and a composer who resides in Tallahassee, FL. He has an interesting background that includes a PhD in psychology. Young started honing his guitar skills at the age of 41. He has also scored several compositions.
His Bandcamp page include a smooth jazz track that he recorded in 1997 and “Everybody Knows,” a single released in 2014. Later that year (as Kicklighter), Young released the LP The Fascinating Thinking Machine. In 2015 Kicklighter put out 24 Hours to Write 10 Hit Songs, an album that was recording in a single day.
For Kicklighter, Young played guitar, keyboards, and drums. He also arranged music for the album.
In addition to his own efforts, Young enlisted Tim DeLaney (bass), Tom Gibson (trombone), Alex Rodiek (trumpet), Steve Leacock (guitar), and Lori Grills Taylor (vocals) to play on Paper Planes, Vol. 1.
Throughout Paper Planes, Vol. 1, Kicklighter employs Elliott Smith-style vocals set to laid back music that reflects an Eighties Top 40 pop influence. Fittingly, the second song on the album is “Howard Jones.”
Many tracks from the LP were cut from the same cloth as Daryl Hall’s 2011 solo album Laughing Down Crying. There is a pop sensibility, yet Kicklighter still puts his lyrics in the forefront of the record.
Kicklighter’s frequent use of a horn section makes Paper Planes, Vol. 1 a more vibrant album than a typical singer-songwriter solo project. There are moments on “A Week Of Rain,” “Do It Again,” and “A Friend Of Mine” that contain a surprising Latin sound.
Everything on Paper Planes, Vol. 1 is a genuine reflection of someone who has been impacted by a multitude of music and produces layered arrangements. Young’s background as a composer comes out in the record. Even the relatively stripped-down “Bittersweet” contains lush percussion.
Each song on Paper Planes, Vol. 1 is comprised of arrangements that sound as if they were carefully contrived. The tracks play off each other well. Kicklighter does not come off as a spontaneous studio composition, but an unusually cerebral brand of indie pop.
This is a sponsored review. All views in this post are subjective and only reflect the opinions of the author.