Ken Allen is a firefighter, an EMT instructor and a musician. I have no idea how he has time for all three of these things but he manages. Although I don’t know Allen personally I can surmise that he’s probably a pretty good dude just by the altruistic work he decided to get involved with. Luckily, I didn’t have to expel too much effort to enjoy his five-song EP Eye of the Storm.
Ken Allen (vocals/guitar) got some help making Eye of the Storm. He was backed up by Benjamin Andrews (bass/lead guitar), Connor Forsyth (piano/organ/wurlitzer) and Shaun Elley (drums/percussion).
The music is soulful, heartfelt Americana with elements of rock, folk and pop. These songs don’t fit under the sub genre of hard rock. Allen makes music you can enjoy at a wine bar with that special someone. It’s smooth, goes down easy and best of all Allen has a good voice.
He opens with “Eye of the Storm” which rings with nostalgia and melancholy. It starts without any warning and the singing begins immediately. He sings, “I think we met before / In a cafe before the war.” I was reminded of the band The National here and there. As the song progresses there were a number of well-executed crescendos but nothing that goes into U2 or Coldplay territory.
“Jody” has a familiar country swing. It’s subdued and is the type of song that if played live will get people to put down their drinks and try their best on the dance floor. The next track “Leta's Lament” is another solid track that combines organ and distorted guitar. There are some decent rocking moments on this track but the band still manages to keep it subdued relying on Allen's vocals to carry the song. The same could be said about “Rappacchini's Daughter.” Allen closes with “Road to Eden” which is more or less straight up country. The guitar picking is top notch and arguably Allen’s best vocal performance. It’s a reflective song about life and death.
Eye of the Storm isn’t reinventing the wheel or being experimental in any way. It’s obvious the band wanted to keep it simple and rely on classic songwriting. I think they accomplished that.
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