Recording music since 2010 Kirby Allen recently released an album entitled together, which is no more than a man with a mic, a guitar and his voice. The music could be considered melancholy indie/folk with thoughtful lyrics and wordplay. Allen is a talented songwriter and that really is his biggest asset. His guitar skills aren't on a level like Kristian Matsson but he has good intuition when it comes to chord structure, delivery and dynamics.
The opening track “Blue” is the one anomaly amongst the other songs. I thought the track was an engaging, eclectic collage of sounds and I was kind of baffled that there wasn’t more of it on the album. Soft, delicate notes twinkle into existence from what seems like an electric piano as a sustained hum holds the other loose percussive elements together. The song felt so out of place from the other material but I think that if he inserted a couple of similar type pieces in between the acoustic guitar pieces it would have made more sense.
The second track is a well-written song revolving around a couple of simple yet effective guitar chords. Allen looks inside and examines existential questions about himself through his lyrics. He sings, “ I wish I had some direction I wish I had some deflection from the things that make me bad.”
“23” was a highlight as Allen picks a memorable melody on his guitar and also delivers a very solid vocal performance. It drips with sadness but also has hints of beauty. The centerpiece was the eight-minute “Red Oak,” which has a couple of dueling guitars and no vocals. It certainly had a number of guitar riffs that retained my attention.
At some point Allen may want to step into a professional studio to get a better sound. Sometimes the guitars sounded tinny and his voice was in desperate need of proper compression but other than that Allen certainly does have some talent. Not every song resonated with me but the majority of them did. Check this out.
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