Boomkat: Boomkatalog One (Dreamworks)

The only interesting aspect of this project is the too-close-for-comfort (or legality) relationship the siblings seem to have.

I’m worried about Kellin Manning, the beat maker and brother, from brother-sister duo Boomkat. Taryn, the sister and singer, has a day job to fall back on when the siblings are—and for the love of ears should be—told not to quit their day jobs. Taryn Manning is an actress, and though I missed Crossroads, White Oleander, and Crazy/ Beautiful, the 45 seconds she was in 8 Mile was enough to prove acting rather than singing. Quite honestly, she should pursue anything rather than singing; her grating vocals sound like an 11-year-old Gwen Stefani whining for her mother to buy her some checkered Vans.

But back to my concern for Kellin; the poor fellow doesn’t appear to be able to hold a job. Reading the sordid Behind the Music–like press bio reveals the suffering of this troubled soul’s past. While Taryn was excelling at dance, Kellin was put on academic probation. It gets devastatingly worse, Kellin confides: “I’d gotten fired from three jobs.” That tragic story makes me pour out some of a 40 oz. for the homie’s lost jobs. As tough as it is to criticize music spawned from such emotional wreckage, I will still try.

The music on Boomkatalog One runs the gamut from used bubble gum hip-hop to electro-funk lite to uninspired pop minus the hooks that make pop enjoyable. If you don’t turn the CD off when the singing begins, you will hear the lyrics co-written by the siblings. Bad vocals can sometimes be overlooked if they are singing quality lyrics (Jello Biafra or Bob Dylan, for example), but this is not the case with Boomkat. Taryn’s style is part party rockin’ rap attempts, part I’m an independent grrrl, fear my roar, and part tired sex/relationship clichés. Some songs contain all three styles, rendering them directionless (er, rather, more so). The opening line from “The Wreckoning,” the album’s first single, goes, “I came, I saw, I kicked some ass/the pain I cause it makes me laugh…the way I do my thing is strange/I just inject myself into your vein.” With that voice and those lyrics, she’d better stay away from my bloodstream.

The only bright spot (or at least not completely dark) is the song “Daydreamin’,” an ode to their deceased father, childhood, and general reminiscing. The lyrics are simple but sweet, and the track is fittingly dreamy.

A bad album is forgivable. What is not forgivable is comparing songs on that bad album to incomparable artists. Both Kellin and Taryn have done this, likening their music to that of Prince, Janet Jackson, even Motown and the Beatles. The only interesting aspect of this project is the too-close-for-comfort (or legality) relationship the siblings seem to have. The incestuous undertones bubble over on their duet for the song “Crazy Love.”

Despite my overall dislike of Boomkatalog One, I do relate to some of the lyrics. When Taryn sings in “The Wreckoning,” “Things will come and things will go/one thing that I know for sure…you don’t give a shit about me/so I’m walking out the door,” all I can say is, “You go, girl!”

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