Band – Personal Public
Album / Label – Revival (2017) / Brick City Records
Rating – 4.5 / 5
Showing a refreshing depth to their sound, “Revival” is the very solid debut full-length offering from Columbus, Ohio alternative rockers Personal Public.
Cody Contner (vocals/guitar), Alex Kessis (bass), Jordan Mcvey (drums), Ben Canton (guitar) and Anthony Herrmann (keyboards) have a soothing, contemporary sound that leaves you wanting more. The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Relay Recording Studios in Columbus.
Opening with the beautiful, ethereal weaving of the instrumental Heaven, they set the stage for the upbeat All in Your Head and its danceable rhythm. Driven by the underlying groove of the band, Contner’s vocals carry an understated emotional quality that recurs throughout the album. He is especially poignant with the line “I hope you find what you’re looking for…”
The Other Side weaves a tale perseverance, making the loss of someone close seem bearable. At its core, the uplifting tone reminds you that it will all be okay.
With the fuzzy, guitar-driven Under the Rug, they capture a sound reminiscent of the early sound of The Killers. Throwing Canton’s guitar solo at the end of the song gives it a dynamic that few bands replicate today.
Herrmann’s keyboards, coupled with Kessis’ bass and McVey’s drums drive Home, the first single from the album. “When I come running home…” showcases Contner’s emotional vocals at their best.
The Wild is a plaintive, yet hopeful tale of loss, with a vulnerability that resonates in society today. It’s instrumentally sparse, proving that sometimes less is so much more.
The Inbetween builds quickly, taking you on a sonic journey that is full of an almost haunting sense of dreadful anticipation. This was the standout track on the album for me.
Outside builds on the ethereal feeling of the opening track with a much fuller sound, and Contner almost wails while singing the refrain of “Outside…”
The penultimate track, Interlude, features the Revival Gospel Choir. The layering on this track with the choir’s vocals brings goosebumps to your skin with its beauty.
Closing out with the title track, they ease you back to reality with a rhythm that tells you that everything is safe now. You can’t help but sing along with Contner, as he asks “Do you know how to feel alright?” It’s a fitting conclusion to their debut effort.
In the opinion of this author, Personal Public‘s “Revival” is one of the strongest debut albums I have heard in the last twenty years. I would not be surprised at all to see this band break big on a national scale in the very near future.