Ten Kens are a band created by Brett Paulin and Dan Workman in Toronto, Canada. They are, in fact, not composed of 10 guys named Ken. Their 2013 record, Namesake, is an expanded edition of their previous digitally released album. This physical copy also includes four additional tracks that were not included on the original. With a total of 63 minutes, the disc has this quality of musicianship to it that is remarkable. Songs like “Whatever Man” and “Take Me To Your Leader” are calm and relaxing. The other two additions previously unreleased are “Above The Ego” and “Little League Now.” These two are the most upbeat tracks on the CD. There are some songs that create a build-up such as “Death In The Family,” “Mousetrap,” and “German Purity,” as they all get heavier as they progress.
The drums have a strong presence on “The Field Around Your Van” and “Namesake.” They fill out the background, allowing for the riffs to be set down over them. The vocals are haunting on both “Gently Used” and “Calm Of The Car.” On “When A Door Opens,” the vocals are equally as haunting with clean chords being fingerpicked. The bass and drums maintain the rhythm, allowing for the guitar to go into a deep sonic send-off. This album is a long one, with one of the shortest songs being “Fetal Misgivings” at 3:29. My personal favorite, “Bliss,” is a near four-minute jam with excellent dual vocals, heavy riffs, and slow but effective drumbeats that set the tone of the song. Having toured with acts like A Place To Bury Strangers and Joy Formidable, Ten Kens show their ability to create layers in their music and have different instruments stand out at different times.
In a Word: Resonant