Kevin Max: Reimagined
Posted March 09, 2015
By SarahFine_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Few names are as synonymous with eccentricity as Kevin Max's. Always one to push the creative and spiritual boundaries of the industry, the CCM pioneer has made waves once more following his sudden departure as frontman of Audio Adrenaline 2.0 after only 18 months, citing a change in direction and a deep desire to pursue different artistic endeavors.
Many questioned his motives, especially those still on the fence about his return to Christian music after having spent so many years proudly on the outskirts. However, what many don't realize is that Max's musical journey is a mirror image of the spiritual journey he's taken in the last several years as well.
"After dc Talk, I went through a period of finding myself and learning the hard way that without a team around me, left to my own devices, I could easily get lost in myself," he offered in a statement shortly following the announcement. "Lost in my own ego, God found me and broke me of my pride. [I] have no desire to run from what I have continued to pursue in the Christian Arts. If anything, I feel that these last two years have given me the tools and desire to make the best art I can within this industry."
Fully fan funded through a lengthy (and ultimately successful) PledgeMusic campaign, Broken Temples is the vocalist's first solo effort in over three years. This project not only displays a new and improved Kevin Max lyrically, but finds him sonically in realms he's never before ventured alone.
"Good Kings Highway" is a solid example of what fans can expect from the rest of the project. His legendary vibrato soars over a brilliant fusion of classic K-Max rock n' roll grit with a bright pop melody, making it the standout right from the start: "You're tried everything to find the truth, your bruises are the proof."
Lead singles "Light Me Up" and the catchy "Infinite" display the diversity you'll find on this project, with the first possessing more radio favorability than the latter.
"Just As I Am" sharpens the electro-pop-vibe Max has tinkered with on past efforts and spins it into format that makes it easier on the melodic palate, sounding much cleaner and more like modern acts such as Echosmith or the short lived Lost Colors: "You meet me just as I am, that's how You take me, I'm in Your hands even when I'm shaking / When I bend and break, it's all for heaven's sake."
"I was a troubled rebel son and all my kingdom had come down / But that was then and this is now, and I've grown somehow." These transparent lyrics on "That Was Then This Is Now" sound the most personally vulnerable.
Remixes of "Just As I Am" and the bass heavy "Clear" by longtime friend and CCM vigilante Derek Webb make a welcomed appearance, but cut the album down to a short eight new tracks. While it would have been nice to hear more, the material presented is strong enough to suffice.
Many of the songs on Broken Temples possess the sound Max helped champion in the reimagined Audio Adrenaline, mostly because a good portion of them were penned before his departure. The moody pop vibe suited him fittingly then, and it still suits him incredibly well as a solo artist now.
While the lyrics feel a bit safer than what most of his fans are used to at this point, they still boast the tried and true fingerprint of honesty and artistry that his work is known for, and indeed do display a rejuvenated and spiritually awoken Kevin Max. The singer has returned once more, and CCM is all the better for it.
Song To Download Now:
"Good Kings Highway" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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