Firebrand is a new album from Alias Wayne (the side project of singer/songwriter Ranzel X Kendrick). While the songs blend elements of country and rock, they would better be described as Americana. The music is exceptionally polished, but the production allows for the recordings to retain their organic, indie cred. This album doesn’t contain any of the processing excesses of contemporary recording, such as autotune. In that sense it has a slightly classic feel, like you’re listening to a 60’s style song that has been rediscovered and recorded with top-tier 1980s gear. The vocals are quite good, with creative lyrics that touch on unconventional subjects (for this genre) like environmentalism and various social phenomena. The songs go into curious detail and will really provoke you to think about what they’re about, which is a credit to the storytelling ability of the artist. No major surprises here, though. This guy is a pro musician who has been developing his craft since he was a kid. The technical skill is a given. Firebrand distinguishes itself with its creativity and imagination. This fun little album is thoroughly engaging.
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