Pete Kronowitt’s third album Elements has nothing for everyone. Released in 2005 from Mean Bean Records, the album forced me to dig deep to say something nice, and I am not a mean person; even the packaging fails me, featuring blurry text that defies you to read it.
The style of his playing is probably meant to be mellow or contemplative, but rarely rises above boring. He does go for variety, sometimes accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, other times being backed up with brushed snare drum and even woodwinds, all to no avail. His singing voice is not something he’s likely to market – for him to have intonation problems on an album this “produced” can only mean that he’s working hard just to get to bad. I know that Pro Tools is derided in some circles for cheapening the art of music, but it exist for a reason, and singing isn’t what this artist is all about, anyway. It becomes clear early on that Mr. Kronowitt is going for a songwriter sound, but when you miss on singing and playing you better be Bob Dylan. Guess who isn’t Bob Dylan?
Still, cruelty is not entirely fair, because he’s clearly earnest about his work, and for this to be his third album means he’s either delusional or some people really vibe on his lyrics. Good news there – you can check out (as far as I can tell) his entire body of work at http://www.petekronowitt.com/ Since you’ll be buying his music for the lyrics, you can find out ahead of time if you’re going to like him or not. Oh, and the nice thing I dug to find? I think that’s his dog on the album cover, and it’s adorable.
~review by John Casker
Mean Bean Records, 2005