610 – Spiritually Homeless

610610 is a solo project helmed by Anthony from St Charles, Il. The singer/songwriter has returned with an experimental album entitled Spiritually Homeless, a record created for the February 2020 edition of the RPM Challenge. Started in 2006 in Portsmouth NH, the challenge invites musicians around the world to write, record, and submit an album of 10 songs or 35 minutes every February. Anthony’s newest tracks reflect deep experimentation with instruments and different recording & songwriting methods, and the result is an enjoyable and engaging listen.

610 – Spiritually Homeless

The lead single is called “Chernobyl Café”, a name that conjures images of radioactive lattes and nuclear scones. For those unaware, Chernobyl, Ukraine, was the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history in September of 1986. Anthony cleverly uses the theme to play with the musical elements; the mostly upbeat vibe and encouraging lyrics hide the fact that he’s discussing an actual café deep in the exclusion zone. Anthony’s tongue-in-cheek refrain “Well there’s a place / where you can go/ where you can glow” playfully goads the listener to explore a nuclear fallout zone, excellent writing and storytelling. On the critical side, the vocal delivery is a little strained and raspy, but this also has the effect of enhancing some of the danger of the story. After a few verse/refrain cycles the song arrives at a cheery double-time outro, with Anthony proclaiming to “bring the kids” to a city “reborn”.

The title track begins with a haunting violin melody, joined by finger-plucked guitar and a gallop-y beat. Anthony’s whispered vocals match the haunting nature of the violin, and the various musical components swirl with each other through a tense, dark tunnel. As the song progresses Anthony’s voice is joined by a canon of voices, amplifying the swirling nature of the song. The production allows the listener to feel as though the elements of the song are wrapping around them. Lone upright bass ends the song as starkly as it began.

“Under the Water” begins with the same lone upright bass, but it is quickly joined by funky electric guitar reminiscent of Andy Summers (The Police) meets Prince. The rest of the arrangement enters with upbeat 16th notes on the hi-hat and a pseudo-clave 3 over 4 beat in the snare. When the chorus enters with “It’s all around us now, your loves around us now” the listener cannot help but be overcome with joy. After another cycle of a verse and chorus a turbo-charged outro takes over, channeling The Police circa-1981 with fantastic results.

On “Flight Deck” the 80’s-influence continues, with sonic elements of The Police still audible. However, Anthony maintains a unique sound by employing a driving pop beat and telling the story through his own voice, in this instance discussing the rush of skydiving as a life re-setting event. Once again an effective outro is employed, this time in a half-time feel, more evidence of Anthony’s great writing.

Spiritually Homeless is definitely a successful experiment, with the various stories and sonic elements combining to create a finished product Anthony should be proud of.

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