The release I will talk about today is one of those vinyl records I awaited in anticipation since I’ve heard the first single. Contrast is a second and most advanced full-length recording by Steve J. Allen, a devoted punk rocker whose music refuses further classifications into a particular genre. His unique ideas, sense of balance, and tremendous musicianship stand out from the remainder of other solo artists who decided to explore endless possibilities with an acoustic guitar. Perhaps this is an acoustic punk rock material decorated with folk, indie folk, and indie rock, but Steve invests his heart and soul into these tunes like no other artist before.
Contrast contains eleven profoundly soulful, meaningful, powerful, energetic punk rock compositions, adapted for acoustic guitar and other accompanying instruments. From the start of this marvelous full-length album, you’ll notice that Steve plays his music right from the heart. The way Steve balances with punk rock aggression on the one side and melodies/harmonies on the other goes beyond comprehension. He found the sweet spot where his sounds resonate in such a special manner. You’ll notice how classic and contemporary punk rock, country, Americana, indie rock, and folk scenes inspired his songwriting and composing. Almost each of the presented songs contains nearly all these elements from scratch to finish, with punk rock taking the sheer dominance above all. No matter which style he’s currently exploring, the music remains energetic, dynamic, and cheerful enough to retain in punk rock waters.
Steve thought about each detail while writing and composing the material. Almost every composition includes pacey rhythmic support, followed by an impressive amount of accentuations and fills. I like how he accentuates each chorus with continuous splashing over the cymbals. These accentuations unquestionably give even more power and ambiance to these songs. Thoughtfully assembled chord progressions are one of the most significant elements of this particular material. It is the aspect of Contrast where Steve J. Allen shines bright on the spotlight as a songwriter/composer. Still, there are semi-distorted guitar maneuvers added over the top to spice things up a little bit. Most of these layers of sound are present as catchy melodic themes or some minor accentuations, but these semi-distorted guitar works like a charm with the remainder of the involved instruments. Steve nailed with the vocal performance, and the most aggression comes from his voice. Contrast is more than solid proof that he feels comfortable while performing folk-punk. You’ll fall in love with this full-length mainly because of his flawless performance and sincere approach to punk rock music.
Contrast comes on a standard black vinyl record, accompanied by appropriate cover artwork. I must admit that Studio III Recordings did professional work from scratch to finish. No matter if we’re talking about the sound, the quality of vinyl and packaging, or the overall appearance, the label did an incredible job. Head over to Studio III Recordings for more detailed information about ordering.
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