Upon hearing State of Devotion for the first time, I was breathtaken. It is so very rare for an artist to deconstruct and bare their soul to audiences, but Josh Kroehn does it with such patience and beauty.
Josh Kroehn has an incredible ability to capture deeply intimate, personal emotions with clarity and voice. His oceanic style of guitar, coupled with his expressive vocals evokes soundscapes that rise above the traditional song format. In fact, I would describe his work as cinematic.
This is seen no more clearly than on his debut album State Of Devotion. Documenting the experiences of his ‘20s, there is an urgency to his songs that can’t be ignored, and a fragility that threatens to unravel at any moment. But it doesn’t. His words power through their pain, weaving the listener a dark, heartfelt biography that is as accessible as it is personal.
Like all brilliantly directed films, State of Devotion builds in its intensity. Opening with the dreamy melancholy of Never Found, Kroehn unleashes the watery acoustic melodies that we have come to know and love him for. Soft, mournful, and lush, the artist turns inwards to examine his own character, drawing cathartic conclusions with each note.
The album’s second single, Welcome Bare, exhibits the full orchestral potential of Kroehn’s voice and music. A haunting representation of social anxiety, the track builds towards grand choruses before suddenly, and without warning, pulling back.
Throughout the record, Kroehn washes and wades through intensity, before finishing with the distorted, alt-rock aggression of Back In Time. State of Devotion’s 10 tracks each holds an agonising beauty that is impossible to ignore, one that follows you for days after listening.
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“His debut album State of Devotion chronicles the past decade of Josh’s life, detailing events spanning his mid-teens to early twenties,” the artist’s bio reads. “This is a cathartic record of Josh’s attempts to cope with personal despair and tragedy.”
Raw and unapologetic, Josh Kroehn’s debut album is immaculate in every conceivable way. There is no space that could be improved upon or nuance that should be deepened.
Do yourselves a favour and dive in below: