Zachary Calkins is the quintessential West Coast musician, and his high school and college years in California and Oregon prepared him well to be the artful and creative musician he is today. His debut album Time to Burn is a fourteen-track psychedelic exploration of Calkins’s life and perspective that pulls no punches, yet pulls all the stops for a truly innovative experience.
The slightly off-beat instruments bright a hazy aura to “Piano Skelly,” a trippy tune that uses vintage instruments and runs steadily through organ, Wurlitzer, guitar and percussion as Calkin’s delicate voice dances through the repetitive and catchy melody. Vocal harmonies enter in “If I Had,” a slow ballad based on acoustic guitar and vocals. A vintage theme runs throughout the album, and it is especially evident in “Late August” and “Memories of My Yesterday,” which incorporates classic rock motifs into a modern setting.
“Replenishing,” a folk-like tune reminiscent of creekside jam sessions, brings a new, highly melodic energy to the album just before “What to Do” spirals into a just-discernible tribute to old-time, soulful rock n’ roll. Just as in the instrumental “Raw Sugar” and the later “Coffee and Shade Instrumental,” the vocals in “What to Do” are not forefront in the mix, and instead Calklins allows the instruments to communicate through pure tones. A harmonica riff introduces “Keep on Rollin,’” an aptly named tune that brings about the second half of the record.
The vitality of the album picks back up in “Have I Lost My Mind” as a quick-scaled synthesizer riff accompanies the uplifting melody and lyrics. “Fade Away/ Strains in My Brain” features a more hard-hitting facet of Calkin’s music profile as pounding drums and power chords raise the dynamic level in accordance with the vocals. The folk rock atmosphere returns in full with “Over Mountains and Hills” a pleasant track that revolves around an acoustic guitar riff, electronic drums and guitar solos.
The record ends with “April 24, 2015” and “Funk Sauce,” two songs that do not greatly deviate from the path the rest of the album lay down before them. All in all, this record is an extremely stylistic collection of folk, rock, experimental and psychedelic music straight from the leading edge in music - the American West Coast. It is a testament to the talent of Zachary Calkins, and fans of many genres will undoubtedly find multiple aspects of this album to love.
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