By Jack Silbert
In Hoboken, we have two things to be very thankful for this Valentine’s Day. First, CupidCon has never really caught on here in town, which I imagine would involve drunken yutzes in diapers roaming the streets with bows and arrows. And second, there’s a brand-new single from local heroes the Karyn Kuhl Band. We haven’t heard any fresh music from the group in more than a year and a half, when they released the EP The Stars Will Bring You Home. So this new song is a rockin’ reason to celebrate.
“Be Your Friend” borrows its title from the dreaded candy heart which literally places you in the Friend Zone. But Kuhl has — wink, wink — other motives. Drummer Jonpaul Pantozzi and bassist Lou Ciarlo kick things off with a slinky groove, and then a twangy guitar courtesy of James Mastro says hello. (Mastro also produced the track, which was recorded and mixed by Hoboken’s Tom Beaujour at Nuthouse Recordings.) In a sultrier vocal than we’re accustomed to hearing from Kuhl, she calms, cajoles, and entices a potential partner. Before the would-be lover knows what’s happening, Karyn seamlessly transitions into her rock voice, and you best believe she’s not taking any prisoners.
After Kuhl’s concise, garage-y guitar solo 90 seconds in, she wants to take us higher via energetic talk-singing. And in the, um, extended climax, the band explodes into Technicolor glory. Being Karyn Kuhl’s friend definitely has benefits.