Friday, September 23, 2016

Fair Shake Review: Leo Rising - Karmin

Leo Rising - Karmin
(Genre: Pop/Alternative Pop)

The journey of Karmin has been one that I've been interested in for quite a while. Most popularly known for the duo's YouTube covers, especially the breakout "Look at Me Now", brought them to my attention. I instantaneously began diving into their budding catalog of indie pop originals on their second channel and continue to watch them grow into Sony signed recording artists. I was pleased with their Hello EP which was a preview of the sound they were crafting for the Pulses major label debut LP. Although the feedback was divisive on their new mainstream polish, I leaned toward a favorable opinion of the eclectic mix of styles they called hip pop. Yet, I also didn't mind them splitting from Sony for sole creative control of their future projects. That surprisingly took much longer than most Karminites expected, but the eventual reveal of this album got many filled with anticipation.

The road to this album was one that is strange when you don't understand how their YouTube career can blend with their music one. After Karmin's separation from the label, they took to the internet to share the creative process of their new pieces as well as the occasional Karmin cover upload. Fans enjoyed many versions of songs they released, but left confused with all that would actually be included in the next project they would drop. Then suddenly, they became less inclusive in the songwriting process with sparse singles released from time to time, until they announced the concept behind Leo Rising. Following an experience with an astrologist, they were inspired to make an album dedicated to each sign in the zodiac. Finally appeared an increasing amount of music videos solidifying this album's upcoming release date.

The singles showcased various styles of pop music as Amy and Nick have in the past, but it was notably more wholly their own voice. "Along the Road" was a ballad with a folk flair that brought one of Amy's most heartfelt performances. "Didn't Know You" brought an upbeat alternative pop jam to the table. "Sugar" has that sultry sound with an irresistible groove. Then "Come with Me" brings the fantasy to life as a new take on "Pure Imagination" of Willy Wonka fame. Karmin truly reach all influences in every track they introduce on Leo Rising.

I, personally, loved the array of soundscapes they played with throughout the album as they honestly bring their own flavor to everything they present. Some favorites outside of the singles they've put out include "Dance with Me", "Everything", "Blame it on My Heart", & "Can't Live". "Save Me Now", despite not being my sign's dedicated song, would probably be my absolute favorite song as it harkens back what made me fall in love with the duo in the first place. It provides an alternative approach to a rap song as it tells the tale of Amy heeding the call to leave her small hometown to follow her dreams while the guy she left behind never could take that chance.

In summary, I feel that anybody who enjoys some alt pop with an indie approach should definitely check out this project. Leo Rising is bound to at least have a handful of songs you can leave happy with. The fact they can bring such a range of soundscapes with only the two of them is amazing, even with a little help on just a couple of tracks. It's a really fun listen that music lovers and can truly get behind, including those who can't see it in the stars.

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