Brother-sister duo Kenny Kasel and Summer Kasel Keever have a corner on the letter K. More importantly, they have a corner on their own hard-hitting brand of folk rock. Power-folk, really. The Kasel-Keever songwriter sibs and their band,The Paris Thieves, are based in Shelby, N.C. but make regular visits to Asheville. Having already performed at Westville Pub and played over WNCW’s airwaves, they’ll take the stage at The Pulp (below The Orange Peel) on Wednesday, Jan. 29. Sloantones also perform. 9 p.m., $5.
The Paris Thieves recently released their debut, self-titled album. It’s 10 tracks of lush drama from the coiled tension of album opener “Fade Away” to the spooky finger-picking of closer, “Springtime.” Throughout, Summer’s rich voice rises (and occasionally rockets) though the sonic tapestry. Sometimes breathy, sometimes pushing against an emotive edge, her vocal recalls Joan Baez and the Wilson sisters without sounding like a throwback. She’s able to hold her own against the driving percussion and chugging harmonica fueling “Leaves in the Wind.” Then she turns and gives an achingly tender delivery on the moody, swooning “Seasons.”
In fact, Paris Thieves (rounded out by Alan Keever on percussion, Rush Padgett on mandolin and guitar, Phil Simmons on bass and Trent Hoyle on saxophone and keys) needs a strong singer. The group’s instrumentation is complex, but its playing is polished. Still, Paris Thieves is not too refined to rock. “Reside” sweeps in on the shivery strains of a vintage murder ballad before charging into a crackle of kinetic energy. Folk inclinations give way to roadhouse swagger. And even as the drums loose a maelstrom, there’s a hint of symphonic composition bolstering the melody. “Willow Tree” would be at home in a country bar. The built in two-four stomp seems readymade for line dancing while electric guitars infuse the rootsy base with a garage-y snarl.
That same menace lives at the heart of slower songs like “Dusk.” Sweetly sung and softly played, the bite of the full band comes as a surprise. The drums drop in on a double beat and horn hits fill in the already plush tapestry. “DaDa” takes a lo-fi approach to its intro, with fuzzed out guitars leading into the crisp smack of percussion and a galloping melody. Summer’s vocal soars, uncoiling and snapping at her upper register.
The album presents a collection that begs for a live performance. Luckily, that show is just around the corner.