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This review is from: The Kissaway Trail (Re-Issue) (Audio CD)
Imagine if the Flaming Lips and the Arcade Fire fused into one epic, joyously pessimistic indie band from Denmark.
That's more or less the sound of the Kissaway Trail's first album, which mingles epic, uplifting rock tunes with some glorious psychedelica and dark lyrics. It's a musical cacophony of offbeat joy -- a wildly colourful stretch of addictive indie-rock.
"HEY! If you're listening, you'll hear/The world's inner decay/Forever turned out to be too long!" a solemn chorus intones over a blast of organ, which dissolves into interludes of bubbles and church bells. It is a bit repetitive, since the entire song is basically those three lines... but the tapestry of soaring organ and synth almost makes up for it.
That turns out to be only the warmup to "Smother + Evil = Hurt" -- a rich indie-rocker, bursting into orchestral tsunamis, swells of synth and violin, and a harmonized marching band sound near the end, as if the Kissaway Trail is marching out of the song. "Walls climbed us because we became stones/With rampant branches molded identical/Let it remain so it remain so..."
But the songs that follow, while not as full-bodied, are still great -- stumbling Spanish guitar-pop, swirling acoustic balladry, joyously rollicking rockers, shimmering synth-edged tunes, dark psych-powerpop, and delicate storms of keyboard and strummy guitar. It closes with the ringing, eerie "Bleeding Hearts."
Frankly, all it takes is the second song to hook a listener -- it's just THAT sweeping, rich and bittersweet. It's a bit of a letdown when it's over, until you realize that the following songs are just as rich and sometimes even catchy.
Musically, they conjure a swirling, exquisite storm of violins, ringing guitars, soft bells, colourful synth and solid drums, building to soaring crescendos and little quiet interludes. But their tunes also mellow out into a gentle indiepop tune during the quieter moments, as well as stretches of complex, slightly offbeat acoustic guitar.
They also have really quirky, really beautiful songwriting ("Clocks will make it hard, carve numbers in our age/Let's start running backwards like our brothers"), giving the feeling of being stuck in a surreal dream. And it's sung in Corneliussen's boyish vocals, sometimes with all the other band members joining in.
The Kissaway Trail's self-titled debut is a glorious storm of exquisite, overflowing indie-rock, full of grandeur, beauty and a little scrap of joy. Definitely a must-have.