Movie Stars and Gossip
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Someone at a party recently asked if I was into rock ‘n’ roll. A simple question one might think, however this one kind of caught me completely off guard. The first thing that jumped into my head was “Yes, of course, duhhh” – but what I actually said was “Errrrr….yeah….I guess”.
Why the confusion? Well, I grew up on a very diverse diet which in the early years included the likes of Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Metallica and Oasis. My teenage years saw my tastes move firmly into Nu-metal territory, with bands such as Korn, Deftones and Limp Bizkit going round and round on the Sony Discman. From there I’ve graduated from obsessing over one specific genre and, like most adults these days, now I listen to whatever sounds good, whether it be dubstep, jazz fusion, punk rock or global soul.
But am I fan of rock ‘n’ roll? Errrrr…yeah…I think so.
I guess it depends on what you class as Rock n Roll. Are we talking The Kinks or Cliff Richard? Buddy Holly or The Who? This one, seemingly innocuous question has opened a Pandora’s Box inside my head. With all of the myriad modern-day genres and sub-genres, what does Rock and Roll sound like in the 21st Century?
Well I’ll tell you what it sounds like. It sounds like Kindred Shins!
After getting hold of their EP ‘Yes To Rioting Notoriety’ I think I can now safely answer that bloody question because I have a reference point. The reason I switched off from the more guitar-driven musical genres at the turn of the century was because after seeing a brief flirtation between the mainstream and my beloved Nu-metal, everything took a sharp turn towards Wackville. Dave Silvera from Korn started modeling for Calvin Klein, Limp Bizkit did…well, what they did (I don’t want to talk about it), and along came Indie again. That was enough for me. Off I hopped to Hip-Hopville and I didn’t look back for some time.
Every now and again I would catch some decent bands which reminded me of my former cravings for violent guitar riffs and sociopathic drum solos, but they never really caught my interest for too long and all I was left with was a nostalgic patch of digging out old Incubus albums.
But now I have something new. I have Kindred Shins.
Each track off of ‘Yes To Rioting Notoriety” bristles with authenticity. It takes me back to my first gigs at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, where the floor was soaked in beer and bands like One Minute Silence, Biffy Clyro and A would play to a handful of people who, if they weren’t kicking the shit out of each other, were swigging from plastic pint glasses and trying desperately to catch their breath. Those gigs were brilliant; they were all about the music, the crowd and nothing else, and that’s what listening to Kindred Shins reminds me of.
“Regain Your Poise Hysterical Woman” isn’t the most overwhelming of songs to kick off an EP, but MacFayden’s vocals are enough to keep you engaged before the song ignites and all of the different elements combine for long enough to lure you in. “The Smoker Never Quits” is where things really start to hot up. The percussion goes for a stroll and you get a taste of what Kindred Shins are capable of. Again the vocals shine as they ride over the top some enticing guitar riffs, and that guitar wiles out in spectacular fashion as it climaxes.
“We Both Know But I Ain’t Saying Nothin'” is the only track on the EP which failed to grab me. It is seems a bit all over the place and I just couldn’t connect with it. The solo is great but by the time it came about my finger was itching to hit ‘Skip’. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So many of my favourite tracks are ones I didn’t connect with the first few times I listened to them.
“Red Eye Blues” and “She Floats Just Like The Witch” have some real swagger about them and give your neck one hell of a workout. Both feature some marvelous vocal harmonies and have this persuasive quality which resonates well and keeps you coming back for more.
“The Sweet & The Strange” is absolutely sublime. It puts you in mind of those saloons in the great Westerns. It is just past mid-morning, the place smells of fresh sawdust, whisky-sodden wood and stale sweat, and the place is just about looking decent before a gang of gunslingers ride into town.
In fact, the Western theme fits this band perfectly. All of the band members look like they’re more at home sleeping under a bar-room table than a hotel room and their image compliments their music impeccably.
Contrary to what Eminem or D-12 will have you believe, THIS is fight music. This is fightin’, drinkin’, cussin’ and tobacco-spittin’ music – and you’ll bloody love it!
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