Some might recognize Adam Kestler from his work with the hard rock band All Parallels. Back to Normal is a total departure from that. It is a melodic instrumental album filled with a diverse collection of tracks that showcases the skills of this Berklee trained musician. On this album his goal was to showcase the different styles of guitar and have a track somewhere on this album that will appeal to everyone. That goal is met with success.
The title track “Back to Normal” starts out at a laid back happy sounding refrain but that quickly changes to an excited amped up sound that builds and builds and then releases the tension back to the original refrain. Then repeats that formula to great success.
Adam is a lefty who rings a diverse range of tones out his guitars ranging from a slightly distorted scratch on the standout track “Itch on the Inside” to the clean country influenced sounds on “Hayseed.” His setup is surprisingly simple. It’s a Fender Deville with a Ts9 tube screamer, T Rex Replica delay, and a hint of reverb from the amp. His typical guitars are a Paul Reed Smith Custom 22, Fender Strat, and a ’52 reissue Telecaster.
This album also features the keyboard contributions of the talented Oli Rockberger throughout. John Plantania, who some readers might recognize from his work with Van Morrison, also contributes a solo to the track “Jake’s Boogie.”
Another rocking track consists of “Ode to Jam” which has a tempo that drives the song along and unfortunately ends sooner than you’d like. Leaving you wanting more and wondering what it would sound like as an extended jam at a live show. “Jaqueline” which is the lone acoustic track shows cases some excellent picking over a simple rhythm section. “Until We Fall Apart” makes for a pleasant break with a much slower instrumental ballad feel.
Adam displays a keen sense of melody composition and although there are no vocals on this album you’ll find yourself humming the melodies even after you turn the stereo off. Let’s all hope that another album soon follows Back to Normal. If this is normal, then I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Itch on The Inside
– Ode to Jam
– Back to Normal
The Big Hit
– Itch on The Inside
Review by Kevin O’Rourke