Island Mele: New music by Hawaii-based artists

Jan. 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

REVIEWS BY JOHN BERGER / jberger@staradvertiser.com

‘Salty Kisses’

Kawena (Kahiapo Talent)

Kawena Mechler, known around town as a booking agent and show producer, is now a recording artist. Four original songs present her as a local pop singer, and as a songwriter with national potential. Her lyrics show a knack for coining memorable phrases and lyric images as she describes catching someone while “ … on the upswing.”

Veteran guitarist David “Chino” Montero rocks out in “On The Upswing,” and pianist Shawn Livingston Mosley gets the instrumental spotlight on “Always You” — a song certain to be popular with
romantics come Valentine’s Day.

One of the advantages of releasing songs on a CD is being able to put them in an order that tells a story. The first three songs here combine to tell to the story of a lonely person who met someone when they were again “on the upswing” and found the love they’d been waiting for.
 

‘Motion and Rest’

Stephen Augustin and the Fourth Wall (Hungry Ear Records)

A generation after Peter Augustin and a Top 40 “cover band” named Funny Company played off-nights at the Waikiki Beef ‘n’ Grog on Kalakaua, his son, Stephen Augustin, is advancing the family commitment to music with this impressive debut album.

Stephen, who plays several instruments, is the primary voice and the resident writer of the project. Paul Brittain (bass), Kimo Short (drums) and Kasey Shun (guitar/vocals) help build his compositions into powerful modern rock. The group, SA4W for short, opens the album as purveyors of melodic, hard-edged, electric guitar rock, but prove equally accomplished when they switch to acoustic guitars and smooth falsetto harmonies.

“It don’t take much/To fall completely in love with a lie,” Augustin observes early into the album, and his thoughts on the impact of time and illusion on human relationships deserve a careful listen. The instrumental passages are always interesting and never become “filler.”

The quartet wraps things up with “When The Half-Gods Go,” a plaintive lament delivered over a seductive potpourri of “noise” that brings the musical journey to a soothing conclusion.
“Motion and Rest” is available at Hungry Ear in Kailua and at music.sa4w.com.

‘Wait, it gets better!’

Fernando Pacheco (Pass Out)

Fernando Pacheco has well-deserved credibility as a musician, recording artist, producer and radio personality. This CD is his debut as a stand-up comic. All going well he will indeed get better at it. As of October, when it was recorded, his material consisted in large part of autobiographical accounts of male genitals, body hair, masturbation and bodily fluids.

There is an audience for almost any type of stand-up material, no matter how juvenile, but several bits show Pacheco could reach a larger and more refined audience. Consider his comments on fantasy football (“If I had a fantasy football team … it would be made up of strippers and unicorns”), those free samples at Costco, and the fact that some people think “classic rock” is music from the ’90s.

Pacheco’s best work is “Lost,” a sketch comedy piece about two guys at a funeral. It’s improbable in one respect, but also clever and well-written. While Pacheco can certainly plumb the depths of the local comedy scene talking about his one-handed sex life, “Lost” shows his potential for bigger and better things.
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John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for nearly 40 years. Contact him via email at jberger@staradvertiser.com.

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