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Abandon Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.25
Lyrics 7.5
Production 8.25
Creativity 7.25
Lasting Value 7.75
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 8.67
Musicianship 9.39
Lyrics 9.08
Production 9.36
Creativity 9.31
Lasting Value 8.78
Reviewer Tilt 9.47
Average: 92%
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Abandon Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera

Reviewed by: Sean Rizzo (02/11/11)
Abandon Kansas - Ad Astra Per Aspera
Record Label: Gotee Records
Release Date: March 8, 2011

Abandon Kansas have come a long way since their major label debut 2009 EP, We’re All Going Somewhere. Their previous sound was something I enjoyed, but nevertheless the niche they took up on the indie/pop-rock spectrum was somewhat overplayed and over saturated with bands that they needed to compete with and prove their originality against. The approach they’ve chosen to take with Ad Astra Per Aspera still isn’t the most original one, but the shift inside their genre to something more so is definitely a welcome change.

Simply put, Ad Astra Per Aspera is straightforward, slightly generic, enjoyable pop-rock with its own unique flair. Looking deeper by comparison, however, Abandon Kansas’ growth and progression is very clear. The transition has moved their compositions away from the more populated and generic rockier sound of the previous EP, and has stuck with what the band does best: the poppy and ambient groovy aspects that are deeply reminiscent of The Killers’ works.

The first thing the listener will notice from the outset of the album is just how much vocalist Jeremy Spring has stepped up his game. Throughout the first track and single, “Heaven Come My Way”, he stretches the limits of his voice both upward and downward, revealing to us his true potential and staying consistently outside of the banal mid-range that we’ve heard from many other vocalists. Although Spring’s newfound vocal prowess remains consistent through the rest of the tracks, Ad Astra Per Aspera slightly suffers from having its best track and single at the very start. The listener can be led on to have greater expectations than what actually awaits them.

Apart from Spring’s stellar vocal centerpiece, there’s also a lot to be said about the instrumentation and other aspects of the album, even though it’s clear that they mainly serve as an accentuating backdrop. Ad Astra Per Aspera features bright synthesizer, dance-y at times such as in “Take My Lead”, energetic percussion, and masterfully accentuating beats in “Liar”. There is also piano in the vein of Jack’s Mannequin to be found, best represented in the opening of “Like It Or Not”, groovy riffs in “A Conversation With The Sky”, and even groovier, catchy hooks in “Wings (Fear of Heights)”. The final track, “Give & Take”, also features some very exceptional female backing vocals. It can be a lot of embellishment to handle at once in certain points, but by no means is that a bad thing. Lyrically, the album encompasses a broadly stretching theme regarding self-worth and the nature of God, with Christian undertones. The lyrics aren’t the most original or eloquent, but they are easily relatable to those of faith, seemingly the band’s target audience.

Ad Astra Per Aspera is a very successful journey into new waters for Abandon Kansas’ major career. It’s catchy enough to warrant some serious radio play, but intricate and original enough to please the ears of listeners who enjoy more complex music.

Recommended If You LikeThe Killers, House of Heroes, The Dangerous Summer, The Classic Crime, The Wedding

External LinksMyspace, Facebook, Band Site
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20.
11:15 AM on 02/18/11
#2
HaileyItHappens
I would make tits more sense
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Quote:
Simply put, Ad Astra Per Aspera is straightforward, somewhat generic, enjoyable pop-rock with its own unique flair

What is it? An album, an EP or what? You're missing a word.

/nitpicking

Good review though. Doubt I will listen to this but always supporting your reviews an shit.
11:20 AM on 02/18/11
#3
Matthew Tsai
Born and raised
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Good review man. I've been swamped with reviews myself but I was hoping someone would pick this up. I think this band has a chance to win some fans on this site.
12:41 PM on 02/18/11
#4
heinzfoot57
we are once in a lifetime
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What is it? An album, an EP or what? You're missing a word.

/nitpicking

Good review though. Doubt I will listen to this but always supporting your reviews an shit.
get the free ep on Amazon and hear them first, they're more unique than he gives them credit for
01:59 PM on 02/18/11
#5
Supersonic-Gabi
Supah-supah-sonic babay!
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No mention of Brad's vocal track? I really wanted to see what people said about that.
02:49 PM on 02/18/11
#6
Sean Rizzo
Can you see evidence of perfection?
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No mention of Brad's vocal track? I really wanted to see what people said about that.
I'm not quite sure what you're referring to.

Good review man. I've been swamped with reviews myself but I was hoping someone would pick this up. I think this band has a chance to win some fans on this site.
Compliments from staff! Yeah, it's really great. I've seen them namedropped pretty consistently around here, I was actually really surprised no one had gotten their hands on this before I did.

What is it? An album, an EP or what? You're missing a word.

/nitpicking

Good review though. Doubt I will listen to this but always supporting your reviews an shit.
<3

If you don't like The Killers then you probably won't like this.
03:23 PM on 02/18/11
#7
whatthefuh?
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What the? This band sounds nothing like the Classic Crime or the Wedding. Way more phoenix and Kings of Leon vibes. Maybe you should broaden your musical horizon regarding indie rock. "There’s also a lot to be said about the instrumentation and other aspects of the album".... but what are the other aspects? You won't bother to go into it? If there are other vocals on this record why not talk about it?

Simply just disagree. Well written.
04:18 PM on 02/18/11
#8
Sean Rizzo
Can you see evidence of perfection?
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What the? This band sounds nothing like the Classic Crime or the Wedding. Way more phoenix and Kings of Leon vibes. Maybe you should broaden your musical horizon regarding indie rock. "There’s also a lot to be said about the instrumentation and other aspects of the album".... but what? You won't bother to go into it? If there are other vocals on this record why not talk about it? "Absolute Punk" for a reason.
Write your own review if you disagree. I don't think there's ever been a time where I've completely agreed with someone else's RIYL. I didn't write the review to suit your tastes or what you think it sounds like, it's just my opinion. I did go into the instrumentation. Did you bother to read the paragraph that the sentence you quoted is attached to?

PS - I don't hear Kings of Leon at all.
05:08 PM on 02/18/11
#9
Jennurna Gray
Happy P and the Goblet of Giggles
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What the? This band sounds nothing like the Classic Crime or the Wedding. Way more phoenix and Kings of Leon vibes. Maybe you should broaden your musical horizon regarding indie rock. "There’s also a lot to be said about the instrumentation and other aspects of the album".... but what? You won't bother to go into it? If there are other vocals on this record why not talk about it? "Absolute Punk" for a reason.
Man, I just have to say... WHATTHEFUH?
06:18 PM on 02/18/11
Sean Rizzo
Can you see evidence of perfection?
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get the free ep on Amazon and hear them first, they're more unique than he gives them credit for
We're All Going Somewhere wasn't that unique, like I said I've heard plenty of other bands sound like that, that doesn't mean AK's EP was bad by any means though. This album is markedly more unique than the EP was.
11:24 PM on 02/20/11
JeremySpring
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Thanks for the review. If you'd like to download two songs from the new record, Heaven Come My Way and The Golden State are part of this FREE EP

Enjoy the free tunes, Ad Astra Per Aspera comes out March 8th. Can't wait for ya'll to hear it, thanks for the support on this site.
10:00 PM on 02/21/11
bradleyray
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Thank you for all the support. I hope Ad Astra Per Aspera takes everyone on a "very successful journey into new waters."
01:06 PM on 02/23/11
richtiemann
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Jeremy and Brad,

Ready for it, guys! Bring it on!
09:15 PM on 03/01/11
daBigMoose
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You say you hear no kings of leon but you do hear classic crime and the wedding? WHATTT?!! I hear absolutely NO classic crime or wedding vibes. What is reminiscent in their album of classic crime or wedding? Come on bro.

"Simply put, Ad Astra Per Aspera is straightforward, somewhat generic, enjoyable pop-rock with its own unique flair. Looking deeper by comparison, however, Abandon Kansas’ growth and progression is very clear. The transition has moved their compositions away from the more populated and generic rockier sound of the previous EP, and has stuck with what the band does best..."

In the first sentence you state the album as "somewhat generic" and then literally two sentences later state their transition has moved their compositions away from the populated "generic" sound. In my opinion, this album is in no way generic, especially considering what the majority of the Christian rock bands are doing. You contradict yourself. What's up with that bra?

This band is only doing what the BEATLES, U2, and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN have done writing about where they came from and who they are. This band and album have my true respect.

Before I go I couldn't help but notice the person whom referred to Brad's vocals and you weren't sure what they were referring to. Brad is the guitarist in the band and it has been posted that he wrote a song and sang in it but you do not know what she is referring to?
So let me get this straight.
You must not have listened to the whole record but yet this review should be held valid?!?
There also isn't any comments on the Tim Skipper of house of heroes vocals.
12:02 PM on 03/03/11
yetconfused
is no tragic bitch.
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Calm thine tits.
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