Kevin Abstract's 'Blanket' Feels Like the Album He's Been Waiting Ages to Make
It’s safe to say Kevin Abstract is past Brockhampton, made official by the murky maturity of his new album Blanket. The alternative record finds itself drifting between minimalism and maximalism, paving the artist a stage fit for the telling of his solo story, decorated in cathartic distortion and delicate melancholia.
Blanket opens with a sequence of barely-restrained emotion, leaning into punk spirit and an indie-alternative sound. “When The Rope Post 2 Break” and “Blanket” feature ominously whispered vocals, setting the energy of the soundscape. Abstract plays with artful noise, finding controlled chaos in yelled adlibs intertwining with the cascade of an acoustic piano. Each individual element is infused with emotion, introducing listeners to the moody scenery of Blanket that allows bitterness and blithe optimism to exist in tandem.
“Running Out” leans into a bit more of an emo bloodline, with its fuzzed bass and raw guitar strumming. Abstract shifts seamlessly between alluring vocal lines that escalate into screaming, then settle right back down to sweet melodies. It’s a turbulent ebb and flow that can be heard throughout the album, both musically and lyrically. “Today I Gave Up” showcases the opposite end of this phenomenon. This track begins in desolation, sparse in instrumentation and heavy in emotion, but slowly Abstract begins to experiment with orchestral sounds, letting a glimpse of light peek through. By the end of the song, the repeated line “Today I gave up” feels less like throwing in the towel and more like saying “Today I gave up, but tomorrow I try again.” “Voyager” continues on this optimism, arriving as the ballad of Blanket, celebrating love simply and without the murk of bitterness. The strum of the guitar is layered until it’s nearly golden, light and free.
Notably, Blanket has allowed Abstract to freely play with sound, especially in “Mr. Edwards” crafting a distorted synth bass, ambient electronic glitches, and a vocal processed so far past the point of singing that it’s become a synth in itself. Other experimental moments pop up in “Madonna,” where three main instruments make up the track, and “The Greys,” where a punchy 8'0s snare supports the gutting lyric, “I won’t wait around for nobody / I can’t be alone”
“Scream,” a nostalgic story that lives somewhere between wistfulness and regret, arrives as standout track on the album. The pondering shuffle of the drums leaves space for Abstract’s intentional vocal rhythm, uplifting his sultry low tones and stirring highs. I keep coming back to the lyrics, “Mosey through the forest, you say pretty, I scream gorgeous… can’t be summer, won’t be spring / I’ll be somewhere in the middle, in between”
Blanket ends with a folk twist, mingling dark tones and western flair. On paper, “Heights, Spiders, and the Dark” is a touching profession of love, but once paired with the somber groan of the track, it takes on an air of desperation. Similarly, the final track, “My Friend,” embodies both sides of love’s double-edged sword—unrequited longing and untouchable admiration. The soaring pedal steel and fiddles that make up these two tracks end the album on a note of complete authenticity. Abstract guides listeners through a journey of alternative ingenuity with Blanket, excitingly genre-less as the artist continues to embrace his independent artistry.
Listen to Blanket below: