Friday, March 11, 2011

Review: Abandon Kansas- Ad Astra Per Aspera

I am currently sitting on the balcony of my hotel room. Oh and the hotel is The Cancun Palace in Cancun, Mexico. Here is a picture, just so I can rub it in.

Yes it is that perfect. In all this down time I have had plenty of opportunity to listen to the new Abandon Kansas record "Ad Astra Per Aspera". I am glad this is the record that I am stuck with because it is a really solid album.

I want to first say I had no idea what Ad Astra Per Aspera meant or where it came from so I looked it up. It means to the stars through difficulties and is apparently the state of Kansas' state slogan. Who knew?! Makes sense being the band is called Abandon Kansas, but anyways I will stop rambling. On to the music! The first thing I feel like I need to emphasize is this is this bands FIRST full length album. FIRST! Listen to any one of the songs on this album and tell me this does not sound like a veteran band. The production value behind it is amazing. Everything is crisp and clear. The instruments are mixed and balanced perfectly, each coming through just as it needs to. These guys know what they are doing, that is clear. The music has a very deep sound that separates itself from most acts. Then there are the lyrics. I love lyrics like this. Deep with meaning that is not made apparent even after multiple listens. It is like a puzzle, every time you listen to it you find a new piece. Lyrics lack this kind of creativity anymore (Thanks JB). They also lack the emotion these do. When the lead singer Jeremy Springer belts "am I more then the sum of the things that I have and haven't done?" it sounds like he means it. 

Once again, FIRST ALBUM!

As far as the music is concerned, the first thing that stood out to me is the bass. The band knows how important a good base groove is and uses it in every song. The guitars have a rock tempo with an occasional indie flare to them. Think of Jonzetta's first album popularity when it comes to bass and guitars. The vocals may sound a bit lazy and unenthusiastic at first, but once you get past the fact that is how Jeremy Springer sings, it really matches the music perfectly. There is a guest vocal spot by Tim Skipper in the second track, "Liar", which is great but I feel he is a bit underused. Toward the end of the album there is more group vocals and guitarist Brad Foster lends his hand at some vocal duties as well. This leads me to my one and only complaint. The album does not have enough variety. It is there, do not get me wrong, but after hearing how well Brad Foster can sing I feel like they could do more with him. The music itself also sounds great but some songs just sound too similar. It is a small and minor complaint however that does not hurt the album much, especially after repeated listens. 

Rating- 4/5 "It's Just Swell!"

This is mature sounding rock that sounds like it is coming from hardened veterans. There are bands that have released multiple CD's that still cant get a sound that is this deep. That gives me a lot to look forward to with these boys. If you like The Killers, The Arcade Fire, Mae, or even Weezer, check this album out. If you don't like those bands, check it out anyway just to see Springer's mustache.

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