KISSAWAY TRAIL – Kissaway Trail (Bella Union)
Right up until I started writing this review I thought that this band were American, with their Mercury Rev/Arcade Fire sound and being on the same label as Howling Bells and Midlake. To my immense surprise it turns out that they hail from Denmark – no bad thing but just that you would never guess from the sound of the album. Right from the off, opener ‘Forever Turned Out To Be Too Long’ has an alt American sound, from the vocals down to the lush orchestration, and Mercury Rev are never too far from your mind. For the next track the band find a voice of their own, and ‘Smother + Evil = Hurt’ is the track that you should seek out if you want to hear what this band can produce. Tuneful and moody at the same time, with a thrilling chorus, it encompasses everything that the band are capable of in one song. ‘Tracy’ is a more upbeat song, and bands like Flaming Lips and Grandaddy spring to mind, putting this album in esteemed company. ‘It’s Close Up Far Away’ and ‘La La Song’ are another couple of songs that could give Grandaddy a run for their money, and you begin to realise that despite the Scandinavian origins of the band they have got this alt/Americana thing off to a tee, putting many of America’s homegrown bands to shame. ‘Some Assassins’ is one of the most overtly Arcade Fire influenced songs, while the drum heavy ‘61’ utilises Win Butler’s vocal style over music that is all their own. ‘Eloquence And Elixir’ is a bit of an oddity, sounding very much like their own ‘Smother…’ and mentioning in the lyrics another of their song titles ‘Tracy’ – a case of the band being influenced by themselves? ‘Bleeding Hearts’ closes the album with another Rev-style vocal performance on a track which builds slowly to an emotional climax. Despite my list of bands that the Kissaway Trail sound like, this album is no mere rip-off and stands up as an excellent record in its own right. More, use the comparisons as a guide, as if you like any of those bands then you will love this album.