One of the best parts about writing for HM is that I never really know what’s going to show up for me to review. Abandon Kansas’ latest, Alligator, is one of those albums I randomly received. When the assignment was complete, it was one that really surprised me. Frontman Jeremy Spring’s brainchild, the eclectic album’s real-life relatability drives its value throughout the work.
There’s an eclectic mix of styles in this album, and the sound and tone of each track is set by the lyrics. A song like “Anniversary” or “What You Meant” — a really personal song of loss for Spring’s father, and his understanding that he’s gone and really gets across the melancholy that comes with death — are slower and acoustic heavy; tracks like “Get Clean” or “Mirrors” have a more desperate landscape with a far more aggressive rock sound. The album’s track-to-track differences are great for the listener, and the band uses things like the noise of cars driving by or adding in ragtime piano to create a rich scene of sounds for their music. Bouncing all over the place typically makes an album hard to listen to, but Abandon Kansas’ ride makes for a very emotional album. There’s a surprising emotional punch to the music that really got to me; they introspective lyrics are very relatable and hit close to home.
Some of the stand out tracks (“Mirror,” “Get Clean,” “What You Meant”) show how dynamic the album can be. “Mirror” is probably one of the most aggressive songs on the album, featuring Everything in Slow Motion and Hands vocalist Shane Oschner over the slow plodding guitars and keys. “Get Clean” is in that alternative rock middle ground and has a great mix of synth and throws in some samples from phone calls and interviews to help underpin the lyrical themes of temptation and addiction. This is a great indie alt-rock album featuring a wide range of musical styles and ambient sounds to effectively get across the raw emotion behind the lyrics. Don’t miss it.