Like so many who ply their craft under the seemingly all-inclusive banner of emo, the members of local rock quintet Kessler appear to have it all: tasteful clothes, high cheekbones, an excellent hair stylist and the ability to write punchy and catchy three- to four-minute odes to love, both lost and found.
What they lack is any real sense of individuality. I Know Your Voice, the band's debut, offers 11 songs that, while never downright awful, certainly fail to distinguish Kessler from any number of bands currently on the Vans Warped Tour. Taken in small doses, the glossy production sheen and by-the-numbers pop/punk songwriting can provide mildly entertaining road trip fodder, though, as singer Mike Mitchell belts out the angst with aplomb while dual guitarists Stephen Tucker and Devin Reynolds provide capable (and standard-issue) radio-friendly rock.
I Know Your Voice is a highly polished, well-crafted piece of product that should perform as it has been designed: Kessler will tour the country, playing on bills with like-minded groups, looking marvelous, getting laid, earning the living that each member dreamt about in high school.
"You and me are going down in history/And every part of this town is part of our destiny," sings Mitchell on "Dallas." I don't necessarily doubt that, but it certainly only applies to a specific listening audience.