KGFREEZE

Phalanges

KGFREEZE
Phalanges
self-released

It’s been over 20 years since Garth Brooks made the questionable decision to release a pop album under a new persona: the brooding, soul-patched alt-rock icon Chris Gaines. It was actually a pretty fun idea, just executed poorly. Last month, Portland rock star Kyle Gervais (KGFREEZE) dropped Phalanges, a concept album on which he adopts the character of a struggling Floridian singer/songwriter estranged from his family. Unlike the Gaines goof, this guise works. Gervais gives an absorbing, nuanced and utterly believable performance, a sympathetic study of a passive-aggressive asshole staring middle age in the face. And all he needed to pull this off was his acoustic guitar, a Southern accent, and some well written stories. Not only is Phalanges nothing like the five previous KGFREEZE releases, it’s unlike anything you’re likely to hear this year. “You always asked if I had any plans of growing up in the future,” Gervais sings on “The Ballad of Lucy Madison,” a falsetto-laden ode to our character’s ex. When paired with the revelation that this character took his son to a bar on his eighth birthday, we get a sense of just how badly he’s screwed things up. This lays the groundwork for a genuine moment of personal growth for our deeply flawed hero, when he spends 15 years’ worth of Amazon Prime fees to take his kids to a Taylor Swift concert. By the time Gervais breaks into an earnest cover of Swift’s “Lover,” I was already tearing up. What a great idea. And what perfect execution.