This month, Texas’ very own pop-punkers Artist Vs Poet released Keep Your Secrets, their first full-length album since dropping their label with Fearless Records. Joe Kirkland (vocals), Jason Dean (bass, drums) and Dylan Stevens (guitar, backing vocals) pack a finely tuned album with 8 songs that never skip a beat: but you really have to be in the mood to listen to it. Keep Your Secrets is not going to be the first album that comes to mind when someone tunes out the world and plugs in their headphones.
“Ready to Roll” reminds us all of what being a careless and reckless teenager is all about—making out to the west coast and selling your soul to rock and roll. Kirkland’s sultry vocals address this mild form of rebellion in a fond and lighthearted manner.
The album consistently switches from slower, strummy songs to upbeat, pop ballads. And sometimes, songs like “Love to Hate Me” are a happy medium of both. By far, this song contains the funniest lyrics: “I’m sorry I thought you were DTF/ but GTFO now/ like right now ‘cause I ain’t dealing with this shit tonight/ ‘cause I got better ways to waste my time,” Kirkland sings.
“Ready or Not” is a tragically beautiful acoustic apology about a damaged relationship. Kirkland begs this girl to forgive him and give him a second chance, insisting that he will always be there for her if she stays. This song almost seems like it’s just a man and his guitar—the drums keep the tempo in the background, but the rest of the band gets tuned out. I envision teenage girls playing this while crying into their pillows after a fight with their FWB (friend with benefits in Artist Vs. Poet speak).
It slows down the album, but sets the necessary pace for other songs such as “Miscommunicate”, which has a piano introduction that makes it the most versatile track as it adapts to electronic beats. “Crazy About You” is the best track on the album, and will probably be any listener’s instant favorite. What could be cuter than a guy openly singing with an acoustic guitar about how he’s falling head over heels for a girl? It’s such an upbeat and fun song that will get anyone dancing and singing in a room with their best friends.
“Stay Strong” closes the album on a more serious note, but really captures the common struggles of girls today. This is song is for anyone with insecurities, whether they be daddy issues or hiding scars. It’s a sincere message that not everyone hears enough—stay strong.
Artist Vs. Poet gives their listeners a taste of their music, but they are still holding back. The best is yet to come for this band. They still have so much room to grow, but Keep Your Secrets is nothing short of a great start.