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Album Review – Admiral Contempt “Lost to the Wind”

Admiral Contempt (l-r) - James Sterling, Maddie Nicole, Jackson Arnold

Band – Admiral Contempt
Album / Label – Lost to the Wind / unsigned
Rating4 / 5

One year after forming, Admiral Contempt is releasing their debut EP, “Lost to the Wind”, on Friday, March 31, 2017. In celebration, their having a release show/party at Tatoheads in Columbus.

Maddie Nicole (vocals/guitar), Jackson Arnold (keyboards) and James Sterling (guitar) have a complex dynamic to their sound that defies being pigeonholed into one specific genre. Embracing this, they describe their sound as “classy, sexy, edgy, but fun.”

“Lost to the Wind” is a four-track EP that highlights the individual contributions, as well as the entirety of the band.

Ed. – read our in-depth interview with them here.

Opening with Set My Table, the guitar weaves a soft melody, with the keyboards adding a complimentary sound that jumps in when needed. Maddie’s vocals soar with understated emotion, reaching poignant peaks of wonderful desperation with “I’m not insane. You drive me crazy…”

Admiral Contempt at Tatoheads (Crdit: Jacob Thompson / Music in Motion Columbus)

There is a darkness to the pace of Fortune Teller that is eerily hypnotic, transporting the listener to a far-away land. The raw emotion that comes from Maddie’s vocals is the perfect companion to Sterling’s guitar work and Arnold’s intricate play on the keyboards. Building to a crescendo, they capture a feeling of almost haunting doom.

On Sex with My Ex, the sultry vocals weave a tale of decisions gone bad. “They know she’s next, having sex with my ex,” is an indictment of your former partner being talked about in whispers. The changing tempo of the song captures the tumultuous coupling that once was, leaving you to wonder if there is any regret felt at possibly returning.

Closing with the aptly-titled The End, Maddie contemplates the finality of a relationship with soft vocals that makes you think she’s not willing to give up. Sterling and Arnold weave a wonderful melody, capturing the intimate mood of reaching the final page of the chapter of life titled “Relationships.” You can feel the pain in her vocals as easily as if it were your own.

Admiral Contempt have a genre-defying sound that is exquisitely showcased on this EP. Although, it’s my opinion that the true weight of their emotive sound is best experienced “live” (read our “live” review of them here). This is a solid debut effort from the trio, leaving the listener wishing it were longer.

They play Tatoheads in Columbus this Friday, March 31 for their release show.

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