Album Review :
Abandon Kansas - You Build A Wall, I'll Build A Ladder

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Band: Abandon Kansas
Title: You Build A Wall, I’ll Build A Ladder
Label: N/A
Release Date: 2008
Review By: Scott L

Tracklisting:

01. When Did We Change?
02. You Build A Wall
03. I’ll Build A Ladder
04. What If It’s All In My Head
05. Minutes
06. By All Means
07. February
08. Eat ‘Em While They’re Blue
09. Patience
10. The Message
11. We’re In This Together

I promise that I’ll do my best to avoid any ‘I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore’ jokes. Which is actually not so terribly difficult because I was never really a big fan of The Wizard of Oz anyway. Although, I did know this girl who bore a striking resemblance to one of the flying monkeys. But that’s a whole another story in itself.

Abandon Kansas is a 4-piece from Wichita, Kansas. Go figure. These guys play an ear-friendly indie rock that comes off like a cross between Switchfoot and The Promise Ring. Both of those bands have very distinctive sounds which is due, in no small part, to the distinctive vocals. Such is definitely the case with Abandon Kansas. While the musicianship is all first rate and the production values are excellent, it’s the vocals that really carry the album along and left the greatest impression. At least for me.

“You Build A Wall, I’ll Build A Ladder” is 11 tracks, just about 43 minutes, and would be right as rain in a playlist along with the likes of The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs, and Between The Trees. The CD is catchy and a pleasure to listen to. Someone had mentioned that the word ‘exciting’ and ‘indie rock’ rarely go hand-in-hand. I’d suggest you check out Abandon Kansas. It has undeniable freshness and creativity to it. It’s not just indie rock as usual. It actually is pretty exciting stuff.

Lyrically, Abandon Kansas is a mixed bag. In a good way. Their songs run the gamut as far as topics are concerned. Consider “The Message”, a slow, almost plodding anthem of hope that’s full of sharp keys and layers of pleading vocal tracks. “by the number of messages on your phone / it looks like you may not be missed / if you left or if you did not exist / but you do exist / for a reason / you’re beautiful / He created you / tonight it’s time to drop your guard / and finally stop telling lies / we can work this out / it will all be fine / I tell myself this all the time”.

I was split on the standout track, so I’ll give them both to you. Musically, “February” was just a super catchy song that kinda reminded me of The Fray. Lyrically, “We’re In This Together” is a jangly almost acoustic ballad that proclaims “Jesus loved me first / when I was not so lovely / ‘cause I need grace / just as much as you do / just as much as you do / ‘cause I make mistakes / just as much as you do”.

Their website says, “Abandon Kansas is four guys with a heart for music and a passion for people. Their mission is to offer a music scene that is over-saturated with hardcore, some genuine songs that cut to the core of who we are. Instead of breakdowns, it’s a dance party and everyone is invited.”

Overall: Abandon Kansas has put out a quality CD. It probably won’t change the world… but you certainly won’t regret checking it out. 

www.myspace.com/abandonkansas

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