Afterglow

Komie

Independent release, 2018

http://www.komie.rocks

REVIEW BY: Jason Warburg

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/01/2018

Given that Ron Komie’s day job is composing music for television shows and advertising campaigns, it’s not at all surprising that the first adjective that comes to mind when listening to his first solo album is “cinematic.” Indeed, it’s easy to imagine several of these lively, expressive instrumental tunes running under a montage sequence at the two-thirds mark of a major studio film.

Primarily a guitarist, though he plays everything on this 13-track, 49-minute album himself, Komie consistently features the guitars up front and driving the melody, even as he instinctively goes for a spacious, big-sky sound. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Afterglow is a fitting name for the album as many of these tunes feature ringing, sunny guitar lines that are easily the most appealing thing about it. The least appealing thing is Komie’s occasional reliance on cold synthesizer washes to provide a melodic foundation.

The highlights are somewhat front-loaded on Afterglow, as lilting opener “Cirrus Flow” revels in the sheer joy of playing, while “Driftwood” and “Breathe You In” deliver moodier, more atmospheric textures, before “Rush” circles back around for more upbeat, rippling runs. This is exactly the kind of music the phrase “brain food” was invented to describe.

“Eyes Of Innocence” offers very pretty lead guitar over sterile-sounding synths that seem like they’re meant to function as a string section, but lack the warmth required to pull this off. “Power Surge” features more chirpy synths and starts to feel a little generic in places, though Komie rescues the track with dropouts on the choruses that add character.

Komie’s greatest strength—his energetic, nimble electric guitar work—is featured prominently on tracks like “Moonstruck” and dynamic closer “Aeon Shift,” one of the heavier numbers here. When he tries shifting moods between verses and choruses on tracks like “Afterglow” and “Inhumanly Possible” it’s not as engaging. Though every moment is tasteful and well-crafted, it’s the bright, nimble sunbursts of notes on tracks like “Aurora Dawning” that give this album its glow.

It’s clear this album was a labor of love, a chance to break out of routines and assert an independent creative voice. Here’s hoping Komie will continue to carve time out of his otherwise busy schedule to explore the sunny, expansive new musical landscape he’s begun to chart with Afterglow.

Rating: B+

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