Breaking through the odds of not being able to play music again, Blueprint Tokyo is a second chance. It is a second chance in music, in melody and in story-for the duo of Andy & Kevin. Overcoming the challenge to his health, Kevin healed, to get back at his chance to heal through music. This is a tale for a new beginning by an inspired group. This is A Whole New Life.
The alternate route
Their inspirations at a first listen could be any alt-rock group from the late 90’s, but careful inspection will tell more. They whisper in sounds from The Pineapple Thief, The Smashing Pumpkins and even Weezer in some cases, but have their own hold on the lyrical output and sound. Learning to experiment, they have made an album that is a strong footnote for this talented band.
Boarding the station with PanicCarefully, they use sparse, reverberating chord progressions to create that familiar alt-rock essence. With lyrics like As panic carefully sets in/let’s panic here once again-there is a lot to be absorbed. The phenomenon that rudely interrupted our lives shook us to our core, these lyrics hope you coped with it with a settled psyche. Poetic and nuanced, they don’t play mind games with words, rather put it as plain as you would face the fear.
Inspired vocals with surreal backgrounds
The title track is the next song, sounding like The Wallflowers album, Bringing Down the Horse. The vocals are soothing and mellow, the punch of the drums setting the rhythm well. The synths slowly melting in the background form a rich texture for the otherwise simple song. The harmonies in places are what bring about a shake this song requires. Experimentations with guitar tonality display a creative outlook for the song, with the Coldplay style background getting more pronounced as we go deeper into the track.
A pop inspired track greets us next. Take Me Anyplace rolls in with synths and drums, fabricating a dreamy atmosphere to take refuge in. It is an exile of styles, with myriad effects being overlaid to create the 80’s pop hit sound that listeners loved. The Keane influence is heard as well, as the guitar distortion pushes through in places. Great track, with plenty of moments that exercise superb control of rhythm and sound.
A prog element blended seamlessly
Infused has been designed to sound like a subset of the previous track. With a beat and chord progression trailing from Take Me Anyplace, The Sky Full of Stars kind of sound is heard with plenty more to unpack while listening. The short, radio friendly tracks stick to the back of your head, the chorus repeating again and again, Mark of simple yet meaningful music. The vocals sound like Johnny Marr at times, with the layered instruments it very well might be.
Let’s be clear, A Whole New Life isn’t something out of the blue that’s got me awestruck. What has got me awestruck is the ability to churn out such tracks when everything in your circumstance would tell you otherwise. Motivation doesn’t come from lengthy speeches, oftentimes it is from example like this. Andy & Kevin have found their love, and direction with their music. We are fortunate enough that lyrics and melodies like this are around us, to shape us into better individuals.
If you haven’t felt the same way about this album, you’re probably hearing the tunes, not listening to the music. Don’t stand too close to the color, you might miss the masterpiece.