Kevin Max - AWOL

Published Monday 14th May 2018
Kevin Max - AWOL
Kevin Max - AWOL

RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: Independent

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer

This seems like the perfect followon from 2016's 'Playing Games With The Shadow' with Kevin continuing to express his '80s influences. He describes 'AWOL' thus, "It is all about England. . . not one of my musical heroes are from the States. I am locked in New Wave New Romantic Post Punk UK world." Consequently, the songs seem to be haunted by ghosts of the '80s popping into my mind as I listen and then he takes me somewhere else. His admiration for The Smiths has always been evident and here former bassist Andy Rourke makes an immediate appearance on the opening cut "Melissa" and later on "Half Of The Better One". My favourite of the three songs that feature Rourke is "Yeshua" which grooves along like classic Smiths. Elsewhere on the album the bassist is John Maron who contributes some sterling work. I love the indie rocking title cut and its anthemic "we are the sons of liberty" chorus and its positive message of an alternative cultural approach built on love and unity. "Glory Boys" has a suitable Duran vibe which fits the lyrics perfectly. Different styles of atmospheric synth pop surface on "Moonracer" and "Eurorail". The song "Brand New Hit" sums up the current dichotomy of Max's position as an artist. He is between two worlds: "all the people from the past just want it to last and all the people in the future want a brand new hit." Like the best creative artists, Max is forever re-inventing and moving forwards but has yet to find the support he deserves at radio despite making a series of excellent releases, this being the latest. As we've come to expect from Max's solo work, lyrically this overflows with poetry and observations on life and culture. Sprinkled throughout his faith is evident too. No longer is he the bad boy of Christian music, these days he seems to be one of the most robust champions of creativity in a scene awash with stereotypical modern worship.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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