Kevin Hyland is a seventeen-year-old musician from Connecticut who recently released Frontiers. What does a young man who has barely experienced much of life to begin with write about? In his own words “in its most basic form this is an album about growing up and its effects on the relationships we have. Experiencing many things for the first time during our teen years can bring us closer to certain people. Conversely, once we've experienced these first times and have matured, our relationships with certain people can degrade.”
He goes on to explain “I compared this idea to the notion of manifest destiny and Frederick Turner's frontier thesis. He theorized that America would only succeed if there was a frontier. Once the frontier closed, America would be in jeopardy.” So there you have it in a nutshell.
Hyland explains “I tried to stray away from typical pop song structures” but to my ears this songs were fairly straightforward pop/rock songs. He sticks to 4/4, mostly major and minor scales and does not introduce aspects such as dissonance. The songs are easy to follow with palatable elements and catchy melodies. Maybe it's just me but when I think of musicians who stray away from pop structure artists like Fennesz, Greg Haines and Keith Fullerton Whitman come to mind.
After a quick yet pretty instrumental piece called “1890” he gets the album moving with “Nothing But The Same” which at its best has some similarities to The War on Drugs. His lyrics sent me back to my college days about fifteen years ago. I guess not much has changed. I got into the works of Henry David Thoreau myself and was in a constant state of change. He sings “army coats, phonographs, a new found taste for prose an admiration for Kerouac and Henry David Thoreau it's funny how, with each semester passed, you found a different you.”
“Hourglass” is more nostalgic and contemplative while “The Architect” felt like a straightforward alternative song that you might hear on FM radio. “The Night” on the other hand is atmospheric and cerebral. I was impressed with his songwriting as the album progressed with songs like “The Turner Thesis.”
The recording quality was really good considering it was DIY. I was impressed for the most part. The one thing that wasn't working was the programmed drums. The hi-hat work in particular sounded unlike a real drummer.
Overall, Hyland has a lot of promise. He should be proud of what he accomplished and I am sure his style will evolve as he goes through these transformative years.
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