This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months.
John Shockness, otherwise known as kid astronaut, has been “waking up to his own path and purpose” — at least, that’s what he has declared on his SoundCloud, next to his recent release, Full Moon. This comes as his second album since leaving Denver’s popular hip-hop band, Air Dubai, in 2015. Outside of music, kid astronaut enjoys reading tarot and remains active with the Denver Community Action Network, or DenverCAN. He has been creating in Denver for over a decade, and with Full Moon, it is easy to see his juices are far from slowing their flow.
If you have not yet immersed yourself in Full Moon, which dropped on the last day of March, the album features seven tracks of soulful, melodic R&B that will entrance you in a calm, healing, mental abyss. Tracks like “Called to Say” encompass a sort of Miguel-esque tone and upbeat background. Yet, the lyrics sing of a painful but inspiring experience with “lately you’ve been running through my brain/and if you were mine, I would be fine/just called to say.”
Along with his soul-squeezing lyrics, though, is the incredibly diverse use of instruments to form the shell that houses them. In “Wolf,” the simple backbeat of the drums and elegance of the guitar notes offers a picture of fingers dancing up the neck of the musical vehicle. kid astronaut’s voices pour over these elements like liquid gold, and the yearning to hear it live to experience the emotion is undeniable. The dance back-and-forth between accoustics and synthesizer samples keeps the flow of Full Moon at a summit of style.
His releases as a solo artist have differed from his work with Air Dubai. On his own, kid astronaut liberates an emotion that could awaken sentiment in the hardest hearts of his listeners. His sound is enriched with instinct and intuition, which both glide out from his alluring voice in a way that is distinct from other Denver artists right now. While enjoying Full Moon, we suggest grabbing someone you love and your favorite beverage to take in the sounds during the golden hour of the Colorado sun.
In total, this glimpse into kid astronaut comes at a time when we most needed light shed on the vulnerable tenderness in Denver. While retaining the core artist his followers have known and adored since his beginnings as a local star, the growth and evolution in his message are clear. Full Moon gifts the listener with a window into the soul of a dreamer, creator and one who parties on the moon under a purple lemon sky.