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The Kissaway Trail - The Kissaway Trail,
This review is from: The Kissaway Trail (Re-Issue) (Audio CD)
On first listen you would be forgiven for thinking that the self-titled debut by Danish quintet, The Kissaway Trail, is yet another attempt to jump on the Arcade Fire bandwagon. The catchy melodies and huge sounding string arrangements mixed with mandolins and banjos are hugely reminiscent of the Arcade Fires finest moments. Look a little deeper though, and what is revealed is an album of hidden depths, crammed with joyous hope and youthful optimism, yet with a darker undertone hidden away at the songs core. Opening track Forever Turned Out To Be Too Long is a perfect example of this "Hey! If you're listening you'll hear / The Worlds inner decay", a refrain repeated over lush orchestral backing, church organ and a childlike choir adding the "la la la's".
Within the band we find two singer songwriters in Thomas Fagerlund and Søren Corneliussen who both share vocal duties throughout. The difference in their style of writing is what makes the album so listenable from start to finish. Fagerlund writes with a childlike innocence, in La La Song "Let's run away, today / The stars, the stars will guide us" he tempts the listener into throwing away all their troubles and strife by jetting off to Los Angeles and in album highlight Smother + Evil = Hurt the band are reminiscent of The Polyphonic Spree at their most triumphant. The Corneliossen penned songs offer a contrast with post rock textures and a darker mood with the songs Soul Assasins ("Sometimes I'm afraid to live / Its like life is a little tired of me) and Sometimes I'm Always In Black ("When winter comes, don't wash away my tears"), the instrumental backing turns the lyrical content of these tracks from being down in the mouth to totally euphoric and uplifting.
Throughout the eleven tracks here the band show considerable skill and restraint in holding everything together. It would have been easy for them to get carried away in the layers of instruments used by letting the grand orchestration overcome the songs various moods. By showing restraint they have created a wonderfully intricate, yet totally accessible debut that is sure to turn up in many a year end best of lists. What the future holds for The Kissaway Trail is anyones guess, but with the backing of label Bella Union (home to last years sensations Midlake) for now, at least, the sky's the limit.