Review: Kevin Marble – What Are You Afraid Of? (2013)
Not too long ago this fair site received a submission from a student at my alma mater, Wheaton College in Illinois. Hopping on the singer/songwriter bandwagon is Kevin Marble, who has crafted a gem of an indie record in What Are You Afraid Of? With an army of guest musicians rounding out the sound (Wheaton students) we have a true homegrown record that, in the end, perpetuates the mood in which it was crafted.
Production is top notch. While the songwriting and composition is expert-level, credit must be given secondly to producer Mark Sommerville, who directed the record splendidly. Drummer Taylor Anthony and bassist Jared Highlen form the backbone of each song in a subtle groove that guides the record at times toward an Americana vibe. Actually, I’m reminded a lot of Ohio’s Deadwood Floats in the nature of the songs, how they flow. Heather Coates and Megan Romberger compliment Marble’s earnest vocals at just the right moments – a characteristic I noticed especially in “The Peace to Come.”
But what of the actual songs themselves? I’ve spent enough time expanding on the feel of the record as a whole, I think. As I said, the nearly six-minute “The Peace to Come” is a highlight – that is, it is a reassuring plea to the listener to “give it up, let it go,” because “the peace to come is better than you know.” Groovy bass lines take the forefront in the following “Broken Hearted Foolish Men” while the first track, “Let It Take” has an optimistic, reassuring feel in message and composition. “These Stars” is an epic (the noun, as in a story Greece’s Homer would recite – not the adjective) of a man pondering his place in the story of Christ’s redemption, utilizing a balance of pensive lyrics, angsty percussion, and a final crescendo to the climax of the tune. The record addresses person to person relational issues as well (“She Left Me On A Monday”) but Marble’s faith takes a front-seat lyrically throughout the entirety of the album.
Kevin Marble has proven that he is capable of putting together a record that not only has depth lyrically, but also has diversity in its musicianship. Marble may be a minnow swimming in an ocean of contemporaries, but What Are You Afraid Of? bears a listen. He certainly ain’t afraid, I’ll tell you that much.