The latest album from Craig Kierce is the 11-track opus called “Though The Road Between Us Is Long”. The record draws influence from multiple subgenres of rock, blues, and folk and has a very characteristic sound throughout its tracks by the tone of the guitars and drums. The opening track, Parthenon, sounds a lot like a post-punk and new wave, without losing its modern flavor. It’s mostly the tone of the voice and production that cause this nostalgic effect. The titular phrase “though the road between us is long” appears on this track as well, and it’s only a small part of how eloquent and beautiful the lyrics are. There is a brief guitar solo which took me by surprise as I wasn’t expecting it to shred this much. On the second track, Long Time Coming, we hear some more creative drum bats with timed rim shots and some cowbells that are super pleasant to the ear. The vocals here have a lot more distortion and grit too, especially in the build-up to the amazing guitar solo. That solo was super melodic and it was also doubled in a way that makes it one of the most memorable moments of the whole record.
Bird in the Hand is the most 2000s-sounding track so far, with its clean guitar chord progression that plays with another guitar that’s distorted and a groovy bassline. The way Craig sings “you were my bird in the hand and I wish I’d loved you more” was so emotional and heartfelt that I had to repeat the track multiple times to feel its amazing emotional delivery again. The track changes tempo after the guitar solo and Craig sings the last verse in a heart-breaking raspy voice that I’m sure will make this song a hit and a fan favourite once it gets more promotion. Stationary has a bit of a slower pace, like 80s and 90s power ballads, which I truly liked. The way an acoustic guitar is intertwined with the distorted one, as well as the keyboards in the background, give the song that RnB/Soul element. It’s impressive how Craig can extend his sound to all those genres and styles without actually changing the core of his sound. The guitar solo on this song uses one of my favorite techniques: word painting. It felt as if the guitar was singing, weeping, and screaming along with Craig’s emotional lyrics. The fifth track, Wrong Kind Of Spell, is the last track in this series of short tracks, and it has some off-beat drumming and special beats that give it a more anthemic feeling. The rhythm guitar and bass guitar are also highly creative and unique in this one and I really loved their sound. The dissonant guitar solo was short yet very impactful and the chorus after it beautifully ended the song leaving us with that anthem/chant feeling that the song succeeds in creating.
Tracks 6 and 7, named “Emily” and “Manhattan” respectively, are the longest tracks on the record, both being around the 5-minute mark. The former of those two is a power ballad with an acoustic guitar that reminded me of grunge and alternative rock bands like Soundgarden and The Cranberries. The choir that sings with Craig begging “Emily” not to leave was a very emotional moment in my opinion and it adds to the replayability of the track. Manhattan, on the other hand, felt like New Wave/Post-Punk infused with Blues and Jazz elements to bring those dark and dangerous rock and roll vibes. These vibes are further complimented by the heavily distorted vocals that almost sound like growls/grunts. The track has a very haunting chord progression that will be stuck in your memory for days. And just when you think the track is gonna get repetitive, you get a tempo change for the bridge and a very melodic bluesy solo that was a total shocker from start to finish. I have to say that Manhattan is definitely my favorite track on the record, by a long shot.
The eighth track, Broken Record, is a short and punk-sounding track but the vocals have the same soulful story-telling style of previous tracks – a mix I couldn’t have thought possible before hearing this track. Only Time is slow-paced and relies on guitars and vocals to sound heavier – a very post-punk/goth aesthetic if you ask me. I really loved how soothing its guitar solo sounds as well. Parts Unknown has a groovy bassline that will get you on your feet for sure, I’m not sure whether it’s dancing or headbanging though. Even its guitar solo was very dancy and groovy which was very pleasant to hear. The following track, It Was a Cold Day, is another groovy one but in a more modern-sounding Alternative Rock sense. The twelfth and final track, Carolina, is a heartbreaking ballad about love and loss. It’s one of those tracks that are painful to the extent of being unable to repeat them (or maybe you would repeat it if you want to get yourself emotional). The harmonica solo near the end makes things even more melancholic and tragic.
In conclusion, no matter what subgenre of rock you are into, whether it be modern/alternative rock or post-punk/goth rock, or the bluesy/rock n roll nostalgic sound, you’re gonna find something for you in this album. In my opinion, Craig Kierce has really hit the jackpot with this album and how diverse yet coherent it sounds. I recommend this album to any type of rock listener cause it will definitely have a moment or two that will exceed your expectations.