There are several components that make up an acoustic song, EP, etc. It’s not as simple as adding vocals and a guitar, it’s also incorporating synth, beats, auto-tuning, and more. Kris Russ’ latest EP, Hunting Season, breaks through the most diverse experience in the pop-punk/lo-fi scene today. Upon listening to this EP, listeners can hear influences such as The Story So Far or State Champs, but Russ goes above and beyond to make every song unique. Every track unlocks a new side to Russ’ talent that truly is refreshing and should be adored by many.
Lyrically, I love what Russ has put out with Hunting Season. Russ puts a lot of himself and his own experiences into his music. Whether it’s about life’s struggles, a band breaking up, or ending a romance, it is all laid out in his lyrics. This is quite possibly the most authentic EP that can be heard. What’s even better is fans can take Russ’ words into their own meaning, making it relatable for everyone. As a whole, listeners can get an understanding of the life of a hopeless romantic who’s tired of continuously getting heart broken. With each song and listen, it unlocks a new emotion to that journey. In just five songs, Russ allows for his listeners to feel sorrow, happiness, and hopefulness. This allows for fans to remain on the edge of their seats as they play the music.
As mentioned previously, there are many aspects that comprise an acoustic piece. With Russ’ music, the listener can hear the smooth sounds of an acoustic guitar, tambourine, synth, and auto-tuning. One thing that is great to hear is the passion that flows so effortlessly. With every chord and note hit, listeners can hear how impassioned every song expresses. Each component within the music is executed greatly to the point where it’s difficult to pick which track is the best off this project. However, the strongest off Hunting Season are “BEG,” “Waves,” and “It’s to dangerous to go alone, so take me.”
Starting off Hunting Season is “BEG.” The overall beat and rhythm of this song is uplifting and hopeful. However, the lyrics carry a different meaning. Lyrically, this song is about life’s struggles beating you down all at once, which begs for that final cry for help. The tambourine playing along with the strumming guitar really expresses a type of harmony I was not expecting to hear-- but it is beautiful. Russ taking a chance to belt out in a yell throughout this track gave me goosebumps. This just adds another layer of emotion to “BEG,” and makes it real for the listeners. It is well done, and I look forward to hearing some of these techniques in Russ’ future music.
“Waves” breaks this EP up a bit. This is a more ambient track, and sets a new tone. There’s a lot of up and down emotions, reflecting the waves and that is brilliantly executed. There’s a faint echo in the vocals, and auto-tuning that portray them to come in and out of play. This brilliantly resembles the emotions of coming in and out of a relationship. I love how Russ expresses this in his music, as it makes for a unique listen. Normally I’m not too keen on auto-tuning, however, Russ really knocks it out of the park with how he chooses to orchestrate it throughout the track. Even though the vocals are a bit distorted throughout, this is quite appealing and listeners are sure to love “Waves.”
To close out this EP, we have “It’s to dangerous to go alone, so take me.” Yet again another track that sets a new tone for the record. In the beginning, we had an uplifting track, and finishing off we have one that’s hopeful for love. However, after talking with Russ about this track, I’ve learned that it holds a darker meaning, and one that resembles the afterlife. Forming a song as gloomy as this, and turning it into something beautiful should be applauded. Russ has a great talent for turning his music into beautiful pieces of art that will be adored.
“It’s to dangerous to go alone, so take me” has very little auto-tuning and synth. This spotlights Russ’ vocals and guitar playing in a completely different way compared to previous tracks heard. This gives it that raw and authentic edge that this EP so desperately desires. It helps carry the lyrics and strumming with more real emotion, and we’re here for it. Similar to “Waves,” Russ’ presence on this particular track is definitely soothing. I felt lulled into a trance as I listened along to the lullabye.
After listening to Hunting Season, it’s clear how passionate Russ is with his music. The record showcases a decent balance between upbeat and downbeat, and every component is wonderfully orchestrated throughout every song. Russ’ music has showcased you don’t need intense shredding or cymbal clashing to produce hard-hitting music. Hunting Season hits as hard as any metal album, just in a different way, and that’s something to praise. I anticipate and eagerly await for new music. I’m sure it’ll hit just as hard as this project.