Abandon Kansas - A Midwest Summer
Record Label: Independent Release
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Abandon Kansas are no strangers to the DIY music scene of the great Midwest. Countless shows across the nation, endless promoting, and even a recurring acoustic “Living Room Tour” took the Wichita, Kansas trio straight to a record deal at Goatee Records in 2009. Their infectious breed of indie music infused with Christian overtones and introspective thought continued to gain notoriety, but the band felt like their creativity was being dampened by their contract. After making a clean break with former label Goatee Records, the band is operating stronger than ever with the release of A Midwest Summer. AK is finally free to produce the kind of music that they have been wanting to, without the expectations or creative influence of a record label. The band’s rejuvenated attitude is very apparent on A Midwest Summer, and it only has me more excited for the new full-length due out later this year. The EP has three of the catchiest songs of the summer that belong right in your car stereo for every mile of the way.
“You+Me+The Radio” shows off the band sounding fresher and tighter than ever, with the addition of electronics and synthesized strings making a more prominent (but never overbearing) presence in their music similar as to what you’d hear in Two Door Cinema Club. It’s a fairly lucid yet catchy song about an afternoon drive that shines with a dreamy quality with the mathy guitar riffs and catchy beat, as well as Jeremy Spring’s unforgettably unique croon sounding like an oasis over the synth-filled soundscape.
Somehow “The Chase” manages to stand out the most from the other two tracks on the EP. Maybe it’s the fact that it is bolder and edgier than most of what we have heard so far from the group that many would have formerly labeled “Christian rock.” The song is just straight up sexy, with Nick Patrick’s groovy basslines inviting you to stand up and dance while Spring’s distorted voice sings lines about the thought of using people for his own selfish gain. What’s more, Abandon Kansas successfully wrote a flirtatious song without managing to come across as crass or trashy which makes it all the more admirable.
Be sure to stick around to listen to “Marching Around Me.” Abandon Kansas has always stayed true to the Midwest, and sonically this song is the golden color of a wheat field in a warm evening’s sunset. The song highlights drummer Brian Scheideman’s talent on this song about being freed through love and grace, with the crashing of Scheideman’s drumset echoing throughout like waves of grace. Chants of “Woah’s” in the background add to the wide open and anthem-like sound of “Marching Around Me.”
It’d be easy to say, “Abandon Kansas is a band that plays a bunch of churches and sings about Jesus,” but that would be incredibly false. Religion may not be your thing, and that’s totally fine. Just take a chance and listen to the story that Abandon Kansas is trying to tell, and even the messages that they get across about living a more fulfilling life. You just may end up liking it. Even if you don’t dig the messages, you will definitely appreciate the top-class musicianship and production on this wonderful indie rock EP. I’ll definitely be jamming this for the rest of my Midwest summer.