Sound — 10
It's been in the making since the end of summer, but at long last, Thrice's voice has his debut solo acoustic CD out. There are several different styles used in the production of this CD from alternative rock to folk. Now don't be running away when I say folk cause Kensrue finds a way to make it work for him. Although you would never suspect it, this screamo/crooner has a way to make his voice match perfectly to the acoustic guitar. The acoustic guitar, organs and harmonica can bring out the best in his voice. It is VERY hard to make an acoustic record and not have several songs sound alike. Kensrue manages to pull away from this tendency and make one of the most diverse yet amazing albums ever. From the fast paced strumming of the opening track "I Knew You Before" all the way to the slow melodic "Blanket Of Ghosts," Kensrue proves once again that he can do almost anything. Although all are amazing some standout tracks for me would be "Pistol," "Please Come Home," and "Blanket Of Ghosts." However all of these could easily make my top 10 list of favourite songs from the last decade.
Lyrics — 10
Dustin managed to translate his amazing song writing ability from Thrice to his new effort. He uses a distinctly different style for song-writing however. His lyrics can bring you to a place such as a street corner where a stranger is just playing his acoustic guitar and revealing stories of his life for you. He still manages to incorporate some Christian attitudes in a few songs like "I Believe" and "Please Come Home" which retells the story of the prodigal son from the father's perspective. A song like "Blood & Wine," which could easily be a Johnny Cash song tells the story of a man subject to drug use and sinning in an up-beat "regret-nothing" tone. One of the best and most unique tracks would have to be the love song "Pistol" dedicated to Dustin's wife which brings back the musical artifact known as a harmonica. Some of the lyrics in this song just blow your mind with their intensity "You're the girl of my dreams, and a pistol it seems. Would you shoot me straight and true?"
Overall Impression — 10
Overall I am very pleased with this record. Dustin's growth through Thrice and now his solo-career are almost unbelievable. You wouldn't be able to tell it was the same person. Even his voice has improved from the early days of First Impressions EP. There is a definate "earthy" feel to his voice now which grounds him and keeps him as a solid singer. My all time favourite track off of the album is the title track "Please Come Home" which retells the prodigal son story. The transitions in this song are all amazing and showcase Dustin's voice perfectly. It's so epic without being clich. The first time I heard it, it actually made me feel for him. There's nothing I "hate" about this album but the one thing I "dislike" is its length with only 8 tracks at only 29 minutes and 39 seconds. However this could even be considered a positive thing as Dustin said he was aiming for this record to be smaller and more intimate like one of the old EPs he used to love so much. Either way this CD is extremely well done and may prove to be one of the biggest surprises this year.