Kevin Borland - 'Harbor City Meltdown'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we delve into Kevin Borland, a veteran indie musician with an incredible past in the scene. His recent endeavors have been based out of Florida, where he’s taken time to immerse himself in the communities he pens songs about. One of those songs, ‘Harbor City Meltdown,’ was released last June. The summer-flavored epic is a witty jaunt through Borland’s musical and production talent. (He did write, perform, and record everything you hear on the song, as he did with a massive array of other tracks throughout last year.)

‘Harbor City Meltdown’ is one of those tracks that infuses the energy of a scene into itself, and regardless of whether or not that energy is positive, it sounds like it is. ‘Harbor City Meltdown’ loosely touches on heavy mainstays in the Floridian neighborhood it’s based on: drug dealers, prostitutes, etc. It takes that content, however, and plays with it lightly, actually creating an atmosphere of anticipation for a night on the town.

If I were to align this with another act, I’d say its lyrical and instrumental style is akin to Bruce Springsteen and his early Asbury Park musings. It isn’t quite as bombastic or poetic, but the landscape it attempts to craft is very similar. Musically, ‘Harbor City Meltdown’ is a hodgepodge of styles. It’s a bit punky, a bit reminiscent of classic rock, and a bit kitschy. The cascading synthesizers feel like they’re straight out of a bad 1980s music video.

The quality of the production is quite high, especially considering its self-produced nature. Borland has a distinctive, but enjoyable vocal style, and his composition is tactfully performed. It doesn’t sound like one performer. In the future, though, I’d love to see Borland move away from the cheesy synthesizers. They drown an otherwise excellent summer rock track.

That’s exactly what ‘Harbor City Meltdown’ is, too. It’s a great summer tune. Aside from its over-produced synths, which are forgivable, it’s a promising statement of relevance for Borland moving into 2016. He’s definitely not new to the independent music scene, but he clearly has quite a bit left in the tank to offer. Check him out on Facebook and spin a playlist of his tunes on YouTube: