The epic sound – the new wave progression which has turned bedroom-hidden indie kids into more life-loving, tree-hugging, spiritual beings – has been brought to the forefront by the Arcade Fires of this world.
And here’s another string to its bow. The self-titled debut from Danish band The Kissaway Trail. But it’s not more of the same…well, it is… but it’s still a refreshing sound. It’s epic in every sense of the word. The four-part harmonies taken from a love of The Beach Boys and Californian sunny psychedelia, the crashing and intense progressive drums, which chops and changes from Focus-esque fills to more modern rock, a bit of the ol’ mandolin, catchy and immense guitar riffs and those ever popular string protrusions.
And don’t let the song titles, ‘Smother+Evil=Hurt’ for example, make you think this is another wannabe kiddie rock group.
And don’t let the song titles, ‘Smother+Evil=Hurt’ for example, make you think this is another wannabe kiddie rock group. Far from it. It has spoonfuls of influence from The Flaming Lips, especially in its Wayne Coyne or early Tripping Daisy mirrored tongue, it has the menthol deep breath sensation of Sigur Ros, and yes, it does have inklings of instrumental massiveness of Arcade Fire, despite the band never having heard of them when they formed two years ago.
“A lot of people compare us to Arcade Fire, but when we wrote the album, we didn’t really know who they were,” says bass player Rune Pedersen from the band’s hometown of Odense. “We don’t mind. Being compared to good bands makes us proud. We don’t rip off other sounds, but we like to tell people who our heroes are. Our tastes are individual in the band – we’re very different – and that brings a good ambiguity to the album.”
The band finally got together after years of playing with different groups and different styles, from rock, pop and jazz. Rund says: “When we finally got together it felt good. We started going in a new direction and along the way, found we really had something…something different, especially in the Danish music scene, which was a bit stagnant a few years ago. We all brought little bits of our own musical tastes in and it blended together well.”
And it shows in their first album release, which opens with an eerie church organ and the demanding “Hey, if you listen you’ll hear, the world’s inner decay”, which sits wonderfully among gothic bells, the family choir made up of little brothers, sisters and girlfriends, and film-score strings. It’s a great introduction and slides perfectly into the before mentioned ‘Smother…’, with its rolling drums, folky mandolin and uplifting chorus.
The mix of pop and rock will suit any musical taste, with ‘La La Song’, its hand claps, catchy melody and the trademark epic harmonies and strings one of the best on the album. There is something for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, this is still rock and fans of a heavier sound will feel comfortable with tracks like ‘Tracy’, but they will probably find themselves enjoying the ballad poppiness and folk twist of ‘It’s Close Up Far Away’ and the euphoric ‘Bleeding Hearts’.