Reviews:: It Kills self-titled

If you had to pick one word to describe the immensely dense songs Halifax’s It Kills puts out, it would be emotion. I’m not talking sung/screamed yelps, frantic guitars or sad sack wordplay. No, Lisa Lipton, William Robinson, and Solomon Vromans, fuse classically trained strings with inspired acoustic work and choir like falsetto or tribal chants to channel emotion much deeper and powerful than should be possible with so few words.


It’s easy to hear the beautiful arrangements, each one constructed so meticulously, and start dropping names like Sigur Ros or The Album Leaf, but instead of moving across glacial planes with crystalline fractures, the trio experiments with darker sounds or adds a warmth to their epic sound scapes more akin to summer breezes across the prairies or rolling African hills. There is something rural, almost spiritual about the drums and soaring oohs and ahhs that help shape uplifting numbers, but the trio isn’t afraid to retreat into the tormented shadows either. Those emotional highs and lows give the album a more realistic feel and force a connection with every listener. “Jump Kid” is ominous - and honestly, mildly unsettling - but the triumphant piano chords of “Sinners” and inspired defiance of “Sailors” that follow, clear the dark clouds until you feel like nothing can stop you.


When you consider the last band Lisa, William and Solomon were a part of - the absolutely fantastical I See Rowboats - the bar was already set fairly high for this record, but the trio succeed in unexpected ways. While ISR could turn a room pin-drop silent with a performance, some of that emotion and power was lost on record. It Kills converts the spontaneous energy of a live show into a record that can soundtrack almost any moment of your life. The confident surge of the piano on “Old Song” challenges the violin and Lisa’s vocals, refusing to give ground and the band brings the intensity to a feverish level. William’s guitar and the the thumping drums of “Dragon” accomplish the same soaring heights. In fact, as I walked around Toronto during NXNE with It Kills owning my ears, life started to seem like it was made from limitless possibilities; not in some made for the big screen, “The-Shins-will-change-your-life” type moment, simply that It Kills make those moments of your days better. If you ask me, that’s something more tangible to hold onto than a scene from someone else’s movie.

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MP3:: It Kills - Old Song




This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010 at 1:32 pm and is filed under 2010, Best-of '10, Canada, Halifax, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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