Album Review: Summerland
604 Records (2016)
Thunder Bay native Coleman Hell’s full-length debut album tells of an afterlife where everyone gets a second chance, “where the sinners and the saints go to the heaven of second chances, where everyone can start again.”
Hell broke out onto the EDM scene last October, with a self-titled, six track EP featuring the now triple-platinum single, “2 Heads,” one of the more interesting songs on the album. The song features the banjo in a genre where it is not often heard.
Although the album tends to stray from the theme of an afterlife of second chances very early on, it eventually returns on the song “Cold Feet,” which is one of the few songs that doesn’t stay at a constant level of energy, a problem that reoccurs throughout the album.
“Cold Feet,” and the closing track, “Hidden Camera,” have actual drops and fluctuations in energy, as well as arrangements that don’t sound cluttered. Seldom can be said about the rest of the album.
A majority of the songs remain on a constant level in terms of energy, but no suspense is ever built, nor is tension released at any point.
Songs such as “Northern Soul” remain on a constant ride of kick drums and layered claps drenched in compression.
Although Summerland is quite creative in comparison to much in today’s music scene, this record comes across as being a few singles hampered between each other, with various filler songs that don’t add anything to the record itself.
Hell is definitely a talented musician and his future releases should definitely be given a shot, but this record fell short of its own pretentiousness. One could listen to only the singles and would be able to get an idea of what Hell really has to offer.