Lesser Men, Abel’s debut full-length is a dynamic step up from their previous EP effort. Baring the same heart and soul, Abel dives into more complex areas of faith and musicianship. “The album is about how we often lose focus on the things that are truly lasting and important in this life,” singer/writer, Kevin Kneifel explains. “It’s about discovering that forgiveness is real, and that no matter how far away from God we wander, he always takes us back.”
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A Solid Effort| Posted December 04, 2010
Fourteen months after releasing their debut project, The Honest Love EP (on Facedown Records) and touring with artists Deas Vail and label mate The Ember Days, Abel, the four piece indie/rock act from Poughkeepsie, NY that consist of: Kevin Kneifel (vocals/guitars), Dan Bishop (guitars/keys), Alex David (bass), and John Rell III (drums), bring us their first full length project (on Come&Live!); Lesser Men. An album front man Kevin Kneifel says is ??about how we often lose focus on the things that are truly lasting and important in this life. It?s about discovering that forgiveness is real, and that no matter how far away from God we wander, he always takes us back.?
The album opens with the short and simple ?Silver?, a song that reminds us God is worth so much more than anything, and there is nothing in the world that could ever compare to Him. The song is then followed by the catchy and upbeat ?Saints?, one of my personal favorites; it?s the kind of song that makes you want to stand up and sing and shout at the top of your lungs.
While there are no direct references, the title track (?Lesser Men?) seems to be about the price Christ paid for us, the ?lesser men?, there?s also a clear reference to the classic song ?You Are My Sunshine?. That could have gone horribly wrong, but I think it gave it a nice little twist. ?Take Me Home? is a plea to Jesus to take full control of our lives. ?Standing Still? is undoubtedly the standout track of the album (in my humble opinion), not only are the anthem-like lyrics catchy (?So I'll stand still to know You/When I just want to be loved/And You are the air that I breath, when I just want to be loved/You are the ocean on my feet, when I just want to be loved??), but the music is quite infectious, I was instantly uplifted and couldn?t help but sing-along. ?Standing Still? and ?Saints? are the kind of songs I?d like to see the band stick to.
The album closes with ?Atlantic: The Broken Hearted King? and ?Atlantic: The Voice in The Tides?. While ?Atlantic: The Broken Hearted King? isn?t quite as intriguing as its title, it?s still an outstanding track! Arguably the most emotional and original song on the album. The song speaks of transformation and rebirth, the only kind that comes from God Himself, it also speaks of the second coming of Christ, and the desire we as Christians have to tell the world of God?s love. The bands guitarist Dan Bishop gets some time behind the mic on ?Atlantic: The Voice in The Tides?, which ends the album just as it began; short and simple: ?We think this world won't end/But nothing's the same since we cast our memories away/Though I know there's an ocean between you and me/You still light my way?.
Overall; this is one of my favorite Come&Live! releases this year. At some points the album gets a bit tiresome, and at thirty-four minutes in length, it shouldn?t feel like a drag. Lyrically it?s positive, but it?s also dark at points; I would have liked a few more songs like ?Saints? or ?Standing Still?. Kevin Kneifel has a good voice, somewhat reminiscent of This Beautiful Republic?s former front man Ben Olin; I really enjoyed listening to him. Musically the album is a bit repetitive. Lesser Men is by no means perfect, even so, it?s a very solid second effort, and I enjoyed it enough to recommend. However, in the future, I would love to hear more of Dan Bishop. I think if he and Kneifel went back and forth on vocals they could really compliment each other beautifully, Marc Martel and Jason Germain (Downhere) are a perfect example of this. These are a great bunch of guys, and I can?t wait to see what they?ll do next.
Lesser Men| Posted November 03, 2010
A year after the release of their debut EP, indie rock outfit Abel brings fans their first full-length album, Lesser Men. According to vocalist Kevin Kneifel, “the album is about how we often lose focus on the things that are truly lasting and important in this life.”
There’s a certain musical freedom about Lesser Men. Instead of letting song structures define the direction of vocals and instruments, Abel allows the vocals and instruments to carry the songs, giving the album a rawness and authenticity that many albums lack.
Lyrically, Lesser Men is pretty straightforward; yet, clever metaphors are found on “Titanic” and “The Martyr.” One of my favorite lines on the album, though simple, is strikingly powerful, “There’s no greater love/There’s no greater call/than when You said, ‘Come, follow me.’” (“The Martyr”).
Lesser Men is one of those rare albums that offers the best of both worlds, great music and uplifting, honest lyrics. This is indie rock at its best.