Kevin Max Smith (aka Kevin Max; aka K-Max) has always been sort of an enigma. Just when you think you have him figured out, he does something else. Kevin went from the powerful vocals behind dc Talk to a successful solo career. Shoot, he's even done a couple of movies; the biggest being his starring role in 2008's The Imposter. From there, Kevin did the unimaginable... He became the second member of dc Talk to join a CCM powerhouse band from the 90's. K-Max in Audio Adrenaline was a pretty wild idea, but it worked. Obviously, he has a different vocal style than founder, and original singer, Mark Stuart, but Kevin helped to bring a band to life that had been dormant for some time -- they hadn't released a studio album in 7 years. Although Audio A with K-Max was a hit, it was also short-lived at only 2 years. Upon announcing his departure from the AA camp, Kevin gave the word about his upcoming album Broken Temples and the lead single "Infinite." After months of waiting, Broken Temples is finally here.
Kevin promised JFH readers that "Infinite" was "not like the sum of its parts." He was correct in that statement. "Good Kings Highway" starts the album off rather impressively. The song is an alternative/pop/rock anthem that is a fun listen and will undoubtedly cause some fist pumping at live shows. While "Infinite" was an impressive first look, "Good Kings Highway" rivals it. Some may fault it as slightly generic, but the infectious nature is hard to deny. "Light Me Up" follows and seems to be written as a radio hit; it's one of the least impressive numbers. "Just As I Am" brings in the first hint of the electronica Kevin promised last year. "Clear" follows suit, but has a much more 80's feel. "When We Were Young" has the sound of a song written by the Smallbone brothers and would fit perfectly on a for King & Country album. The U2-esque verse opens into a big chorus that begs one to sing along. More electronica ensues with "That Was Then and This is Now" and "White Horse" turns out to be another of the album's best as Kevin sings about the prophecy of Christ returning while riding on a white horse. Next up are two Derek Webb remixes of earlier songs. While they have different titles, "Another Big Mistake" and "Going Clear" are remixes of "Just As I Am" and "Clear," respectively. "Another Big Mistake" doesn't add much to the original, but the work done on "Going Clear" is definitely of note. The electronic music, coupled with the keyboard and effects, give the song a feel of a classic sci-fi film -- especially the super haunting organ sounds in the second verse. It's definitely a cool track and is now one of this reviewer's personal favorite Kevin Max ventures. The album closes out with the lead single, "Infinite," featuring Rachael Lampa. As promised by Kevin, the song is nothing like the rest of the album, but it's pretty fantastic nonetheless. I'm on board for a full album of K-Max songs in this style.
In all honesty, my first couple of listens through Broken Temples only brought disappointment. After really delving in and listening in-depth, what was initially heard as generic radio songs began to show their layers. This may not be Kevin's best work to date, but the man is far from generic. The biggest complaint on the record is that is technically only 8 songs. Changing titles and sounds for the remixes doesn't push it to a full ten-song record... The album could have benefited greatly from adding two additional songs and making the remixes available as bonus tracks or through an extended/deluxe version (But 2 new songs will be added later on for a digital Deluxe Edition). While seeing Kevin Max exit Audio Adrenaline so soon was sad, Broken Temples has shown that he isn't done. You can't go wrong in adding this record to your collection, but, if you're not impressed at first, give it a couple more spins. You should definitely find some enjoyment in this one.- Review date: 2/22/15, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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