According to the band, this is a concept album which plays out in four separate phases about the struggle against succumbing to self-destruction. While concept albums of this nature are usually the territory of some pretentious prog band from the Netherlands or some such, this isn’t the case as Player/Kommander is a pretty upbeat rock band made up of your garden variety alt.rockers. The band manages to hit all bases: soul, boogie, disco, and even sing-along pop music on this album, doing a number on people who say they only like one genre of music. Dammit if they all aren’t here, doled out at about a song or two apiece.
The band is made up of indie rock cult hero James Hall (ex-Mary My Hope) on vocals, who is aided and abetted by Jim Troglen and John Fuller on guitars, Robbie Stephens on drums, and bassist Roman Glick (Jackyl). Well known producer Jeff Tomei (Smashing Pumpkins, Matchbox 20) is also on board to help out sonically. A pretty solid aggregation of musicians to be sure. A chance meeting happened when Hall moved back to Georgia after losing almost all of his possessions while living in New Orleans when Katrina hit. Originally, Hall was asked to produce guide vocals and help coach the vocalist Glick and Troglen were going to use to sing their freshly written songs, but Hall felt he connected with the songs and requested he be chosen as lead vocalist. Thankfully, the rest of the band was thrilled and Player/Kommander was born.
While this may be a high concept for a rock and roll record, the band manages to keep the concept from getting in the way of the music, ending up with an album that can stand as a full-length concept or as a bunch of songs to be enjoyed individually. Great stuff.
4.0 on the Scott-O-Meter