Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists had to decide whether or not to release their music. With venues closing, it would be harder to gain exposure through live shows. Artist Adam Banner of Oklahoma City went through this same process and decided to release his debut solo album, Rarely Wronge, anyway. But with good reason. Banner began the recording process two years before its release. It was initially slated to be an EP, but it continued to grow until it was of LP length. On top of that, he had a son in the middle of recording. After stepping away from music for his family, he finally finished Rarely Wronge. Given how long it took to complete, Banner decided to release it despite the pandemic’s potential effect on its success.
The album features a full band behind Banner’s tender, alt-country songs. The tunes on Rarely Wronge began as intimate tracks written by Banner alone. The production highlights that. His grungy vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica (on most tracks) shine through over the rest of the instruments. Because of this, the soul of each track comes to the forefront, and the listener is allowed to get a more in-depth view of the stories Banner tells.
Banner’s talent as a musician and songwriter really shine during the quieter moments of Rarely Wronge. “Transatlanticism” is driven by its melancholic piano and lyrics about a distant lover. There’s a tension in the song’s sparse arrangement, but it eventually reaches a dramatic climax that accents the earlier melancholy well. “Goodnight” is another quiet track that highlights Banner’s talents.
The arrangement is similar to “Transatlanticism” with acoustic guitar and piano acting as the driving force. But “Goodnight” has a quiet, droning synth in the background that makes it a powerful track. Rarely Wronge is a consistently written and arranged alt-country album. The singer/songwriter influence shines through on quieter moments, and Banner’s rock vocal style allows the album to go that direction at times without feeling out of place. I recommend you check out this release if you haven’t already.
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