Conor Gains – Compass
Like a portraitist behind an easel, Conor Gains masterfully paints us a picture of anticipation, innocence and divine orchestration on his new album, Compass, available now everywhere independent music is sold. Carefully navigating through churning somber reflections and breakaway purgative chorales, Gains uses the majesty of his voice to create a cushion of warm harmonies for the listener to find solace in.
A lot of people take for granted listening to new music in a modern age that has traded in the physical format for the instantaneousness of digital downloads. It used to be that when an artist dropped a new album, there were months of anticipation and waiting for the release date to come before we could even get a taste of what we were paying for. Obviously we’re living in a different time now, but good music nevertheless still sounds better when there’s a hint of tension involved. Therefore, when spinning Compass for the first time, I suggest you shut down your computer, turn off your television and find a nice block of time to really sit and appreciate just what Conor Gains has put together for us here. Unlike some of the trite LPs that have been gracing the Billboard charts this past year, Compass is a dexterous, fascinatingly colorful full length that will demand your focus more and more as it progresses through its ten songs.
The record opens with the stellar “I Know,” which melds jazz and smoky vintage beats to create an instantly catchy piece. There’s a sense of fearlessness that drives “I Know,” lyrically referencing a dare to be different attitude and reaffirming our intuition as the true God guiding all of us side by side. “Walking Alone” follows it up in no short measure, adding a dash of Stevie Ray Vaughn-style blues and confident swagger to the mix. This evolved style wouldn’t have been possible for earlier generations, not because of any sort of inaccessibility, but simply because the ingredients weren’t on the table yet; Gains, in all actuality, is expanding on a lot of the sonic themes laid out by Hendrix on Electric Ladyland, but which have mostly sat dormant in the almost five decades that followed. There’s so much to be excited about with Compass that it’s almost limiting to try and describe its sound without comparing it to such high ranking classics.
For fans who aren’t familiar with Conor Gains’ already well-accomplished songbook and approach to the studio, Compass is a great jumping off point. For if you find yourself not able to relate to its epic melodies and explore its complex arrangements with intense enthusiasm, you just might not be able to appreciate good music, as there truly is something for everyone’s taste on this record. Check out more music from Conor Gains on his official YouTube channel, which includes the video for Compass’ first single, “I Know,” and visit his website to receive updates on upcoming releases, live performances and more from this burgeoning poet and songwriter.