The latest collection from British Columbia born singer/songwriter Paul Kloschinsky, Crime of Passion, is another fine addition to his growing discography of highly intelligent folk influenced tracks. The eight songs on this release are primarily built around guitar, but Kloschinsky brings other instruments into the musical frame. There is a light smattering of strings, horns, and even woodwind instruments making their presence felt on Crime of Passion and Kloschinsky weaves the disparate elements together with such loose-limbed, relaxed artistry it is assured to attract a wide variety of listeners. It is a little more of a low-fi affair than his previous album, Nobody Knows, and avoids the successful adornments distinguishing many of the songs on that album. Kloschinsky knows his way around a good lyric, but there’s nothing inaccessible about the music or songwriting.
His guitar playing is undoubtedly a star on this release. Kloschinsky does a superb job moving back and forth between flashes of melody and straight forward chord work on nearly every track. “I’m Still Waiting”, the album’s first track, benefits enormously from some of the most forceful guitar work on the release, but Kloschinsky never fails to ornament the fretwork with moments of melodic spark. The title song doesn’t benefit as much positioned next to this vital opener – it seems a little flat in the aftermath of “I’m Still Waiting”. It is a fine tune, judged on its own merits, blending some distinctively Kloschinsky lines with familiar tropes in an effective manner. “Soothe Me” has a likeable quasi-shuffle structure and is one of the album’s outright love songs, but Kloschinsky avoids many of the traditional clichés common to the form. He delivers a performance, however, free of sentimentality and some listeners might wish his vocals possessed a more immediate sound for this particular song.
“House Up on the Hill” has a cross between a classic country and folk sound as its base and it provides an evocative foundation for his lyrical content. It’s one of his best moments in that regard but shows a sure hand for avoiding the overwriting that might plague lesser artists. He takes on a little more of a rugged edge with the track “A Poignant Point in Time”, but the rough-hewn roll of this track never completely chases away the folk influence running through all of his music. The penultimate track on Crime of Passion, “Not Frightened to Be Free”, has a strong message Kloschinsky articulates quite clearly, but the arrangement is a little less fluid than some listeners might enjoy. “Gates of Heaven”, however, is as fine of a song as Paul Kloschinsky has yet written. It begins with an extended keyboard introduction courtesy of organ before moving into one of the album’s most beautiful guitar driven pieces. The lyrical fare, however, is even more outstanding and Kloschinsky confronts his own mortality without any of the heavy handed musing we associate with other performers. Crime of Passion offers listeners a diverse and rich listening experience while still engaging listener’s intelligence with its musical depth and lyrical acumen.