Absinthe Blind: Rings (Parasol Records)

The tenacity and love on the album surpass any doubts, however, and leave you wanting more.

Absinthe Blind, a fabulous rock band from Champaign, Illinois, deserves to peer down on the music industry. In an age of endless drivel and pointless songwriting, this band seems to forget about what it takes to make it in the industry and uses it to create unimaginable beauty. Their fifth album is a dramatic rocker that boasts 12 tracks, most with the potential to latch onto your conscience.

“The Break” jumps out at the beginning to drop a movie soundtrack-feel behind the stylish melody created by Adam and Erin Fein’s vocals. Like a play unfolding before you, the song rips on the shoulders of the caustic lyrics: “It’s easy, it could’ve just been so simple, but then you bit my head off.”

The Feins’ confident singing in track one yields to a sonic “Shields” on track two. While the vocal production in this song lacks at certain points, the songwriting and musicianship—specifically, the bold leads on electric guitar by Tristan Wraight—make up for it. Track four, “Bands 1,” inserts you into an underwater dream world with delicious melodies and colliding genres of rock and jazz. Short bites on the trumpet are at first awkward, as it feels out of place but quickly folds into the essence of the song. “Inside My Mirror” is quickly brash from the beginning and seems destined for radio airwaves with the repetitious chorus and thickening cellos by Peter Linder. The guitar solo cutting into the middle of the song leads the band to get “The Bends” for a minute or so. Seth Fein’s drumming is bad-ass throughout this stint of envy and propels the band into a slamming orchestral jam at exactly 3:30 into the song.

Erin’s crystal-clear voice gets to shine on “Walls Covered in Hope,” an astutely arranged tune of understandable confusion which takes off with a gripping drumbeat packed with skill. Loops on track seven along with a rolling piano keep you in anticipation of what’s to follow. A running Absinthe Blind stands willing to drip the track on top of you with a trip-ridden guitar solo by Wraight. Unfortunately, “The Dreamers Song” is not worth the listen. Not only does it mention the Beatles, but it sounds like them. The vocals are awkward in this take, which is a surprise considering the fine singer that Adam is.

The harmonies in “Ease the Curtains Down” could be tighter, and pitch corrected. But the songwriting swings like a carousel that doesn’t want to drop you off without a grin. “Brave” immediately grabs with its brilliant sound at the beginning reminiscent of U2’s “Passengers” work. Erin’s vocals are sweet enough to keep you around the house for the day, and Adam’s voice coats the song with a gentle touch. The heavily accented “She saves/Now I’m where I need to be,” with meshing harmonies, stands alone from the previous tracks, allowing the band to stretch its chops with a lengthy and impressive jam.

A tasty album overall with tight producing, Rings does not fail to impress, although some production/mixing blunders make you wonder if Absinthe Blind tapped all of their resources in the studio. The tenacity and love on the album surpass any doubts, however, and leave you wanting more. Absinthe Blind clearly faces the difficulties of any phenomenal live band: re-creating the sound and drama in the studio. They’ve clearly done it, as Rings reveals fresh layers listen after listen that wow you like their live show.

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