Thursday, February 8, 2007

Reviews:: The Kissaway Trail

With all the attention garnished to the Swedish brethren of music, it’s nice to see the other Scandinavian scenes get some exposure. First, it was the explosion of Mew that brought Denmark some attention and now on the heels of their countrymen, The Kissaway Trail is about to make some noise over on this side of the pond.

The self-titled record – out on Bella Union soon - starts with a simple organ and two simple vocal lines. After that, it gets a whole lot more complex and ambitious. The 5-piece uses layers, harmonies, a stable of instruments and an amazing grasp of pop music to craft a very enjoyable record.

The orchestral swells of the choruses on Smother + Evil = Hurt is balanced with simplistic picked guitar and Flaming Lips-esque vocals. This is probably the band’s greatest skill; they can ebb and flow, attack and retreat, build and fade without ever losing a melodic approach. Unfortunately, this type of music is generally dismissed as another band trying to replicate the Arcade Fire.

I honestly don’t get that vibe from The Kissaway Trail. They present a lot of styles, like the 90’s indie rock vibe of Tracy, but the band still adds their own spin to the song. I can never picture Joan of Arc adding a mandolin riff in the middle of a track, but it works perfectly these guys. They touch on the vocally challenging prog-rock style Jonas and the boys from Mew deliver, especially on Sometimes I’m Always Black and Eloquence & Elixir.

That being said, songs like La La Song, Soul Assassins, and 61 are choc-o-bloc full with textures and sounds, sing shout choruses, handclaps, slow builds and all of the other elements any indie rock fan loves. Their arrangements are carefully considered, and the production is excellent. You really hear what the band wants you to hear.

The problem with ambitious projects is the tendency to continually think more = brilliance. I like how tKT doesn’t fall into this trap. The acoustic driven It’s Close Up, Far Away shows that the band doesn’t feel the need to add too much, trying to overwhelm you with epic numbers. Simple harmonies, delicate guitars and a lo-fi programmed drum riff are all that is needed, so that’s all they use.

They are playing in Toronto for CMW @ the Silver Dollar on March 8th and 10th and were announced as a SXSW attendee as well. The Kissaway Trail is a name you are going to hear a lot more often in the upcoming months.

MP3:: It's Close Up, Far Away
Video:: Smother + Evil = Hurt

Posted at 4:22 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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