Album Review

Kameron Marlowe - Keepin' The Lights On

Keepin’ The Lights On is a promising album, able to buoy Marlowe to allow his vocal strengths to sit more confidently at the centre of future projects.

Album - Kameron Marlowe - Keepin' The Lights On
May 31, 2024 5:20 pm GMT
Last Edited June 20, 2024 10:29 am GMT

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Kameron Marlowe - Keepin' The Lights On

Label: Columbia Records

Producer: Dann Huff

Release Date: May 31, 2024

Tracklisting:

1. 911
2. Nothin’ Slowin’ Us Down
3. On My Way Out
4. Never Really Know
5. Tennessee Don’t Mind
6. Leaning On You
7. I Can Run
8. High Hopes
9. One That I Don’t Call
10. Lock Me Up
11. Will It Be There in the Morning
12. Quit You
13. Smaller
14. Strangers (with Ella Langley)
15. Broke Down in a Truck
16. Keepin’ The Lights On

Two years after his debut album, Kameron Marlowe’s solid sophomore effort, Keepin’ The Lights On, showcases an artist in possession of an impressive, dextrous voice with a wrangler still in search of a niche. In a scattered songbook that covers love songs, life lessons, death and heartbreak, he veers between straight shooting, classic honky tonk depth and arms-length Nashville cool, favouring the latter in the end.

Yet, Marlowe is most successful when he’s whipping the treacle of his voice into something thick, showing off its bluesy quality as he croons across standout track ‘High Hopes’. It’s sultry, soulful and intimate, though he can also handle pace, skilfully maintaining this vocal power against the thump of country rock boot stomper ‘911’. Where the album’s thematic and vocal cohesion don’t quite steady themselves, producer Dann Huff uses it to his advantage, making neatly economical choices with the instrumentation as he alternates deftly between dancing fiddles on ‘Tennessee Don’t Mind’, cool twangs of electric guitar on ‘Nothin Slowin Us Down’ or misery-wailing strings on heartbreak tune ‘Broke Down In A Truck’.

Marlowe has proven himself to be a skilled writer, but at times, promising songs don’t quite bite hard enough to achieve the climax they should be capable of, such as with ‘Never Really Know’. It sets itself up as a country tragedy, talking of the local hometown teacher who drowns herself in whiskey as she looks upon two young lovers and remembers what it was like to be one of them, or a man who self-medicates to ease life’s pains. It feels a weak payoff then for the chorus to shrug that “you never really know what someone’s going through”, placing the narrator into focus at the expense of what could’ve been a deeper character study with a real emotional punch.

Luckily, there are plenty of jabs delivered directly to the heart elsewhere, like on ‘Smaller’, as a town comes together to mourn a fallen son. It’s a powerful portrayal of Marlowe’s emotive ability, the catch in his throat standing the listener to attention as he weeps, “some of us drank, some of us cried, most of us we did both”.

Keepin’ The Lights On is a promising album, able to buoy Marlowe to allow his vocal strengths to sit more confidently at the centre of future projects.

7/10

Kameron Marlowe’s 2024 project, Keepin’ The Lights, is available everywhere on May 31 via Columbia Records.

For more on Kameron Marlowe, see below:

Written by Holly Smith
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