Today’s POP RESCUE is the 1997 debut eponymous album Kavana by Kavana – now a member of the supergroup 5th Story.
The album opens with debut single Crazy Chance, which is a brilliantly upbeat pop track. It does feel highly reminiscent of Eternal‘s debut Crazy, and at times I’m sure its possible to sing their hit over the top and find it fits perfectly. This aside, Kavana makes light work of the vocals here, leaving you with a perfectly catchy song. This is great start to an album, although upon the song’s first release as a single, it only reached #35. It was given a mix for 1997 and reached #16. Take That star Howard Donald takes a co-writer and backing vocal credit on this track.
What is probably Kavana’s biggest hit, his third single and cover of the Shalamar 1982 track, I Can Make You Feel Good, is up next. This is a slower paced track, and gives a sympathetic nod to the original retaining it disco feel throughout (check out the Shalamar original). This is his joint-highest charting single, reaching #8.
Next up is his second single Where Are You, which has a more RnB ballad feel to it. It’s the slowest of the three tracks so far, and was written solely by Kavana. It reminds me of some of Dane Bowers’ tracks, which is ironic as Kavana has since joined up with Dane in group 5th Story.
Fourth track is the other joint-highest charting single MFEO (Cutfather & Joe 7″) (which I think stands for ‘Made For Each Other’, although it’s not clear within the song). This is another up-beat song – completely different from I Can Make You Feel Good, but this would certainly have sat perfectly amongst the work of Eternal, Mark Morrison, and other hit makers of the time. The track includes a rap section by Phoebe One.
Holdin’ Back On U is up next, and this is a smooth, slow RnB tinged track – built with some really nice backing singer harmonies with Kavana, pitched over bass, piano, and beats. My only criticism is that it goes on for about a minute too long, closing at 5:13.
This is followed by Release It, which reminds me a lot of something that you’d find on George Michael‘s Older album (a blend of Fast Love and Spinning The Wheel) – both musically and vocally. This is another slower, but soulful and funky track.
The pace increases with Wait For The Day, which has a catchy chorus, but the verses seem a little buried in the music.
The Time Is Right follows this, and this is another almost-George Michael track, seeing Kavana getting in the mood for some serious loving: ‘Baby turn the lights down, bring your body to me. We’re gonna rock it tonight, now move in closer, so hot it’s third degree’ he sings. I could imagine this being an Another Level track.
Up next is For The Very First Time which feels musically like a Relight My Fire sequel, which might not come as a surprise, that Kavana was on the same label as Take That, and seeing that Howard Donald and Lulu both have collaborations on this album. Having said that, this is another Kavana-only written track. It’s certainly more dance, upbeat, and perhaps disco than anything else on the album. This should probably have made it as a single.
Singer Lulu gets a co-writer credit with Kavana on next track, Protected, as well as backing and lead vocal duties. This is a mid-tempo track, and it’s fairly catchy. It has a great bass line, some disco-esque strings, and Kavana’s vocals fit here perfectly.
Penultimate track Jealousy is another up-beat track, and one that fits alongside the likes of Crazy Chance. Perhaps this track should have made it as a single too? It’s really quite catchy, and would have fit perfectly amongst the rest of the 1996/1997 singles chart. Opportunity missed.
The album closes with Work, another up-beat song, that opens with ‘we’ve got to work, work!’, but whilst musically this song is a great piece of work, the lyrics in the chorus aren’t that great ‘Work, just to make it work. You gotta work to make it work’. A mix of this track appeared as a b-side to one of his singles.
Overall, this is a great little pop album. There’s a couple of same-y songs on here, that maybe could have been shelved to bring the album down to a perfectly formed 10 track edition. Sadly, the album stalled in the charts – perhaps partly because the album was released after the 4th single.
Where is Kavana now?
Kavana released a follow-up album in 1999 which again saw moderate success.
He has since gone on to make appearances in UK and US television, but is now currently a member of the supergroup 5th Story as part of the ITV Big Reunion series.
POP RESCUE RATING:
- POP RESCUE 2014 RATING: 3 / 5
- 1997 UK CHART POSITION: #29
- POP RESCUE 2014 COST: £1.00 from a Poundland store.