Review Summary: A solid EP that plays like a short album. An interesting blend of dancy pop and alternative indie.
I’ve lived in Kansas my whole life. Many of the kind folks who have also lived here their whole lives may tell you the assumptions that are commonly made about Kansas are unfair and inaccurate. Of course, they’re either sadly mistaken, deluding themselves, or just plain lying. Kansas is flat, boring, and generally speaking, doesn’t have a lot to offer. I gathered this information at a young age and spend most of my high school days longing to “escape”. I was prone to this pessimism from the beginning. I’m not lying, my mom’s name is Dorothy. Her little dog’s name is Toto. I hated Kansas for a long time. But I later outgrew this bias, and learned that Kansas has a few wonderful exceptions to those assumptions, and is a nice, quiet, safe
place to be. Abandon Kansas (pun clearly intended), being one of those exceptional Kansas treasures, captures these themes in their EP, We’re All Going Somewhere
Abandon Kansas is a black sheep in the Kansas music scene. Their music blends indie rock with danceable pop. This particular EP also features an alternative edge not found on their other works. This edge is most apparent on the opening track, and my personal favorite, The Harder They Fall
. It’s a great opener and full of energy. The tracks that follow have a more danceable quality to them, but remain upbeat and sustain that energy. It’s on these tracks that Abandon Kansas gives us the best showcase of their distinctive sound. They’re groovy, yet powerful. The pace then slows down a bit during the title track and Months and Years
. The focus is shifted to the vocals and the lyrical meanings become transparent. But I’ll get to that later. The closer, Close Your Eyes
, picks things up again. And it closes with a climax, punctuated nicely by vocalist, Jeremy Spring, wailing, “It’s taken me so long. It’s taken me so long to find you.”
Each member of Abandon Kansas certainly knows what they’re doing. Lead guitarist, Brad Foster, often emphasizes the dance element with catchy leads. Also, during live performances his wild dancing matches his playing. The bass and drums are both punchy and creative. The production on this disc pairs the bass and drums really well. Everything is very clear and dynamic, which helps maintain the energy in that alternative edge I’d mentioned. However, a clear highlight of the EP is the songwriting and vocals of Jeremy Spring. He sports a very distinctive persona through both his style and voice.
Lyrically, all of the songs are well written. There are a few brief moments that could seem a bit cheesy or cliche, but they’re not common or glaringly obvious. The lyrical material covers quite a range of subject matter. There are a couple recurring themes, centering around the struggles of band life and touring, relationships and criticism of others, and their faith. The band is Christian and Christianity seems to be the centerpiece of the writing. It’s difficult to tell at times, however, whether the writing is directed toward God or someone else. However, if one were to read the lyrics to Close Your Eyes
without hearing the song, one may assume it is a worship song. And it may be considered one delivered in the form of an indie rock song. It has a lot of energy during the lines directed towards God. As a result, conversely, if one were to listen to the song without paying much thought to the lyrics, it would be easy to miss the worship nature of it.
As a whole, it’s a solid EP. It feels like a short album, and I personally really wish it were. After seeing Abandon Kansas live half a dozen times, I find myself hoping they play more of these songs live. But alas, things change, and they have gone on to write, what seems to me, more lighthearted music, which is “poppier”. But this EP stands out to me as noteworthy in their catalog, just as the band stands out in the region they come from.