Iron Kim Style is a quintet consisting of a couple of guitars (Dennis Rea and Thaddaeus Brophy, the latter on 12 strings), plus trumpeter Bill Jones, drummer Jay Jaskot and bassist Ryan Berg. The “inspiration” might reside in the figure of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il (who is even present, via pictorial superimposition, in the group’s photograph on the cover), yet the phrase “your boxing has no power” used as caption reminds of another Iron, namely the one and only Mike Tyson.
The music: not exceptionally original but, to remain inside the pugilistic ambit, still packing a punch and brisk enough. Technically evolved to a good degree – not to the point of resemblance to a series of exercises – the pieces range between many obvious influences, which you will find listed in other reviews of the same album. 70’s Miles Davis with aromas of Bill Frisell and Terje Rypdal, and – occasionally – tunes constructed upon a single bass riff à la Hugh Hopper. Some of the tracks sound like a pretext for jamming rather than real compositions; the problem is that those improvisations are not always at the maximum level of freshness, at times becoming quite wearisome.
Overall, the record’s liveliness is respectable – especially when we don’t want to think too much, just tapping the foot for a while. If the Tyson association stands, though, this group is comparable with the boxer’s post-incarceration version, circa 1995: the menace and the clout were not sustained anymore by the once-decisive speed and the bob-and-weave approach, and Evander Holyfield was lurking behind the corner.