by Robert Lyons

Simpson College’s newest band, “Identity,” will be releasing their first album within the next two weeks. The album is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication of the band’s members.

Taylor King and Jake Schrodt, both seniors at Simpson, are the driving force behind “Identity” and their new album, “Crisis,” is both a personal and professional achievement.

King and Schrodt, formerly members of “The Shrooks” which disbanded in late 2014, began recording their new concept album on March 8 with their new band members.

“The drummer we used, he had played with us once before, the night before,” said King, the band’s guitarist. “We had practiced for about two hours, but he nailed every take.”

Recording the album was done over the course of a week at the Alexander Recording Kompany (ARK) in Ames. By March 12, the band had polished and finished their 12 tracks for the album.

“We recorded the whole thing live and we didn’t even use a metronome,” King said. “We were really efficient and [the owner] told us we were the quickest and most efficient group that he had ever had.”

As a concept album, each song is meant to highlight and discuss the complex social issues of the 21st Century. Indeed, the band hopes this comes to be considered a “deathbed album” or an album someone would want to listen to on their deathbed.

“Every song is placed in the order it’s in for a reason and every song is a combination of our own life experiences,” King said, in speaking for the band. “However, all the songs were meant to be accessible to anyone and their own experiences.”

The name of “Identity’s” first album “Crisis” was no simple decision. The band name was chosen to reflect that “a broken identity is like looking at reality through a skewed lens.” Over the years, identity had been something every member of the band had struggled with and their efforts as a group helped them to eventually find and accept their own individual and group identities. Yet the album as a whole has no identity as a genre.

“We want to be genre-less,” King said. “At its roots, it’s probably a little bit of alt-rock, but I say that because a lot of it is electric guitar driven.”

For the band, this album not only represents the culmination of years of hard work and dedication; it also represents the group’s chance to reach the big time.

On March 27, rock and roll legend Eddie Money and the producer for Jimmy Buffet listened to the band’s concept album. The pair will also be at the band’s second big gig on April 17 at Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines.

Prior to their showing at Vaudeville Mews, “Identity” and the rapper Billy Weathers will be featured with Kid Ink on April 11 at the Six Flags Event Center in Clive.

To listen to the album, check out the band on SoundCloud, Pandora, ReverbNation and iTunes in the coming weeks. Copies of the album will also be sold at a discounted rate at any “Identity” concerts.