Along with the critical cheers for singer-songwriter Ben Kweller, there’s also been some scattered murmuring that this Frisco kid hasn’t quite lived up to his hype. That, instead of having found his voice, Kweller had found too many voices: whiny Neil, anxious Kurt, wobbly Garcia. No more. Go Fly a Kite is his finest and most focused effort to date.
Ironically, commercial failure’s been good for Kweller’s self-esteem. The rocker, “Mean To Me,” sports a commanding guitar hook and the lines, “Gotta scream at the top of your lungs/Just to get ‘em what you want ‘em to hear.” Country-ish “Out the Door” is another winner, powered by forceful acoustic strumming. The ballad “The Rainbow,” mates Sticky Fingers-era Stones with Beach Boys harmonies.
Kweller started his own label to release this disc. Judging from this high-flying Kite, he’s both an excellent employee and a helluva boss.