Album Review :
Avery Pkwy - You Have the Roadmap

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Artist: Avery Pkwy
Album: You Have the Roadmap
Label: None (released independently)
Release Date: 2006
Review by: Eric Pettersson

In 2003, Brandon Jones expanded his webstore of three years into a small record company by the name of Indie Vision Music. Over the next year, Indie Vision Music released a number of stellar albums, most notably from artists like Pennylane and Dismissed. Eventually, Jones decided the label thing wasn’t working out for him, but he decided to keep the Indie Vision Music website and turned it into a webzine, which he now continues to run as a hobby. Dismissed parted ways, most of the band going on to become Kings to You. Their drummer Joel Piper, however, had a different path in mind. Joel went solo and has now released You Have the Roadmap under the pen name of Avery Parkway.

This album follows a much mellower theme than Joel’s previous work with Dismissed. The opening track, “Tell Me,” is comprised of acoustic guitars, string effects (along with a few other atmospheric sounds), and Piper’s own unique voice which trades between a soft lullaby and a more emotional quiver for the passionate parts. Throughout You Have the Roadmap, Joel maintains a soft, luscious sound, beckoning listeners to sit and contemplate the deeper aspects of life, or simply to relax and enjoy these beautiful and carefully crafted tracks. The next song, “I Am All Yours,” is led by a slightly dark piano with an electronic loop in the background for completion sake. Other songs, like “I Don’t Want To” and “Anchor” are led by acoustic guitars, and “Anchor” cries out to God thanking Him for always being there when He’s needed and wanting to always be there for God’s plan. “Don’t Give Up” is another piano led track, taking the voice of Jesus and encouraging the listener to keep moving strong. This song also has an electronic drum pattern, which is ironically the only percussion heard on the entire album, distancing this effort even further from Joel’s role in Dismissed. Other songs deal with the depravity of man and God’ forgiveness, the fight to remain righteous in a corrupt world, and the struggle to give God control.

You Have the Roadmap is a remarkable first album from Avery Pkwy. Joel released this on his own, but I would not be surprised to see the next disc from Avery Pkwy coming from an established indie label. His piano tracks are the standouts, as the majority of the songs are more acoustic-driven, but while the piano may appeal more to a certain crowd, the acoustic tracks are still splendid, including the two instrumentals and the stripped down closer, “You Have the Roadmap.” Most of these songs are accompanied by strings and electronic sounds of some kind, enhancing the atmospheric feel, and Joel chooses most of their placements quite well. Avery Pkwy is a grand departure from the crunching guitars and sing/scream vocal approach of Dismissed, and You Have the Roadmap proves that this is not at all a bad thing.

7/10

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PS. Joel also now plays drums in the rock band Olivia.