Kyle Adem - armour.
Record Label: Ghost Motel Records
Release Date; July 24, 2012
"And now I am shaking in my armour."
Thus is the key to Kyle Adem's armour.. his newest and first release under the name. In only nine tracks, Kyle Adem has created quite the spiritual journey weaved within a folk sound that opens up to both orchestral and punk elements. Opening song "Brother Follow" is fantastic, and one-of-a-kind when compared to the rest of the album. It sets a dark tones for itself based around a simple acoustic arrangement and background noise, before expanding into strained backing vocals and finally turning onto a more positive light.
"Corinthian Girl" continues this as an upbeat number lined with horns, bringing on the heavier religious references. The album (and its artist) search for answers through several beliefs, which can sometimes bear down a little hard depending on who's listening. It's often reminiscent of David Bazan material, and if you can either find interest in it or push through it, the result can be downright beautiful. "Armour" takes things down a tone, quietly bringing up topics like temptation and character and then finding comfort in the record's key lines.
"Samuel's Son" is a seven minute ballad that reaches high vocal and musical climaxes throughout, and its several intrumental change-ups keep the song flowing interestingly enough. However, when set next to the lyrically heavy "Insignificant", one gets a better idea of the substance in the album. This could be the centerpiece of the album, and its "Hallelujah, I have been remade/ Hallelujah, insignificant in your grace" will either polarize or draw in listeners.
With "Insignificant" being the meat and potatoes, "Sunlight & The Sea" is sweet, delicious dessert. The inner punk is unleashed in the most rockin' song here, featuring narrative, a fun leading solo, creepy crowd vocals and even organ, adding the perfect touch. "If I Were a King" is slow and sentimental, but instantly memorable and relatable. It explodes into a big-band goodness that carries the second half of the record. One of the only flaws of armour. is in its production, sometimes failing to match up instruments or vocals well enough to go unnoticed. The only thing I can say is that these imperfections are often the things we come to love in music, and as long as Kyle Adem may have been releasing music (six albums under the old moniker, 4: thirtyseven), he still has time and space to grow into his musical ideas.
"I'll Get Back To You" is the inspirational reassurance to the listener that everyone makes mistakes and no one can know every answer, bulding up musically into another memorable moment. The album closes with "Brothers We Grow", a light piano piece that leaves the record on a sweetly optomistic tone. If the first half of the record asks the questions we all do, the second half comforts the listener with the emotion and attitude one should try experiencing life with.
armour. is a debut that conjures up many feelings in an attempt to search for meaning. Kyle Adem has put together an instrumentally rich and lyrically unique album that, while not without its flaws, flaunts them proudly and confidently. It's a theme most of us will have found familiar at some point in life, and does its job beautifully as a musical companion to that.