STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 177615-28821 LABEL: Blind Thief FORMAT: CD Album
Reviewed by Tim Holden
Kevin, that idiosyncratic singer/songwriter who, since his dc Talk days, has forged for himself a sizeable fan base for his numerous and extremely eclectic albums. Amongst his various tastes in music, Max has a well-known love of '80s electronic pop and he has certainly indulged his passion here. 'Romeo Drive' was recorded in collaboration with synth wizard Service Unicorn and this concept album is an expansion of a previous three-track EP, 'Same Wavelength'. The story follows a cybernetic entity, Romeo Drive, that is trying to understand humans and God. The styles cover a lot of musical ground, from the spoken poetry opener "2079" - very reminiscent of the introduction to "Tron Legacy" - through covers of Tubeway Army's "Are Friends Electric" and Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" before heading back to spoken word over a heavy synth riff in "The Unicorn". The analogue synth style sounds are a bit harder than the '80s originals they are based on and with many more layers and vocal effects making it more palatable to modern ears. As would be expected from Kevin, the lyrics are very poetic and often weaving complex ideas together in ways that require several listens to even start to understand what they are getting at. The album is well along the quirky spectrum and there is certainly no other Christian release sounding anything like this, and probably not many secular albums either since the end of the '80s - even the cover songs take a while to be recognised for what they are musically. This is a must for anyone who likes the '80s, or wants a change to the standard CCM fair, but it will require a few plays to really reveal its full potential.
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