A few weeks ago while browsing my Facebook wall (which is normally 90% total shit,) I was pleasantly greeted with some news that Garrett Klahn was going to be releasing a solo album. The pre-sale on it started, so I immediately placed my order. I saw that there was a sample track off the album, but I declined to listen.
If you are not familiar with Klahn, he was the front man for true emo pioneers, Texas is the Reason. I know that I frequently catch myself saying, “My favorite band of all time,” we all do. I have since made a conscious effort to limit that spectrum and make it a more realistic statement. Texas is the reason is easily in my top 5 favorite bands of all time. It was the golden age of emo, where dudes didn’t look like this:
I had no idea what to expect from this album, but I was 90% certain it wasn’t going to be like Texas is the Reason. Would it be like Solea (another band of his)? I was guessing no. At 41 years old, I was expecting it to be a personal album. I was correct.
Before I get into the music, I have to praise the presentation of the album. This is truly a great time to be a music collector. If you haven’t accepted the return of vinyl yet, you are a moron. The return of vinyl has gotten me excited about music again. The first pressing (and probably only pressing,) is on white vinyl and actually comes with a CD version. I think I paid $17.99 for it on Amazon. It currently says that they won’t have any more in until January 25th. It’s an impressive looking album.
- Are We Alright?
- Big Deep
- I Don’t Care at All
- Motion for Action
- The River
- Friday Nights 1969
- Silver Wings
- Salvation Sirens
- Autovia Blues
I have listened to this roughly 6 times so far, and I’m finding that I’m enjoying it more and more after each listen. When I first dropped the needle on this, there was about 30 seconds where I thought I was going to hate it. “Are We Alright” starts off with this dark sounding keyboard accompanied by an up-beat drum track. It almost sounded a tad generic. Once the chorus kicks in, Klahn’s voice takes over and you forget all about that 30 seconds. “Are We Alright” ends up being a solid start to the album.
“Big Deep” is probably my least favorite track on the album. Not that it’s a terrible song, it’s just not my cup of tea. It’s a slower song with a lot of piano and nothing particularly stands out with it.
Aside from “Big Deep,” the rest of the album is pretty good. “The River,” a slower and more dramatic track, has some really cool guitar work in it that I found myself playing back in my head after listening.
As we approach the later tracks on the album, it’s clear to the listener what kind of album this is from the direction it’s taken you. “Ravenna” is an extremely slow song, bordering on being a country song, that I would have probably hated if it were at the beginning of the album. Because of the placement of the song, I was almost eased into it. There is a definite country influence on this album.
Again, this is a not something you would have expected, but it deserves more than one listen. I praise Klahn for making an album that is obviously 100% his own vision.
A decent release from a musician I have much respect for.