Album Review :
Abandon Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera

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Artist: Abandon Kansas

Album: Ad Astra Per Aspera

Label: Gotee Records

Release Date: March 8, 2011

Reviewer: Eric Pettersson

Tracklisting

  1. Heaven Come My Way
  2. Liar
  3. Like It or Not
  4. The Golden State
  5. A Conversation with the Sky
  6. Where Else Can We Go
  7. Take My Lead
  8. Wings (Fear of Heights)
  9. Learn
  10. Give & Take

If Abandon Kansas began to find their niche with 2009’s We’re All Going Somewhere, then Ad Astra Per Aspera is the band fully coming into its own unique style. That’s not to say you haven’t heard some of these sounds before from Kings of Leon or the Killers or even Switchfoot, but with this release Abandon Kansas is putting their signature on the genre of modern rock. It’s got an expansive feel, creating a large space and filling it with thick guitars, layered vocals, and heavy bass. It’s such a mature, developed sound that Abandon Kansas come across more like seasoned veterans than industry newcomers. The lyrics are prodding, making the listener question and think. Mark Lee Townsend’s production is excellent as always, proving his ability to work with a wide range of styles and to help a band hone its craft. While there are definitely a few filler tracks, the infectious hook of “Like It or Not” just might be worth the entire purchase. The hint at collaborative vocals on “Learn” makes you wish guitarist Brad Foster had been given a greater share of frontman Jeremy Spring’s microphone, as the trade-off and harmonies would spice things up and keep the record from getting too monotonous.

Overall: With Ad Astra Per Aspera, Abandon Kansas dial in a big, arena rocking sound with deep music and serious melodies. A little too serious at times, the album would benefit from some true rocking out and lighter vocals, but it is a move in a good, solid direction for the band, showing that they will only get better with time.

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