Kill It Kid
Yeee haw! Get yer Docs on - it’s hootenanny time, Kill It Kid style!
Kill It Kid’s eponymously titled debut album sounds like The Grand Ole Opry on acid. The album cover depicts a psychedelic pinball machine - which is very appropriate - because this is music that can go anywhere, and usually does. The result is a heady mix of sounds that at times are overwhelming, exhilarating, confusing, and just plain nuts. The consummate rock journalist in me would argue that the meandering melange of styles makes for a confusing and hazy listening experience, while the music fan says, oh who cares, it’s fun! The band goes from honky tonk, to country and western, to folk rock and back again, but it just about all hangs together.
The journey commences with the Lynyrd Skynard flavoured ‘Heaven Never Seemed So Close,’ with slide guitar burning and fiddle blazing. The single, ‘Burst Its Banks’ which ebbs and flows like the banks of the Muddy River, showcases the beautiful harmonizing vocals of Chris Turpin and Stephanie Ward. ‘Ivy and Oak’ is another helping of Allman Brothers style southern-fried rock - “I will be your jury and judge” trills Ward, with Turpin eventually joining in like an avenging angel. The song is all swagger with a big full sound that is sure to be one of the highlights of the live set.
The “you done me wrong” of ‘Fool For Loving You’ with its cliché lyrics and unconvincing throaty vocals from Ward falls flat and ends just as unceremoniously as it begins. Fortunately, the band return with the lovely ‘Send Me An Angel Down’ which shows off some pretty prodigious singing on Turpin’s part, reaching notes you wouldn’t think his molasses and moonshine voice capable of.
We leave the Bible Belt of the United States now and return home to jolly old England. The folky ‘Private Idaho’ will remind you of Fairport Convention with the violin leading the song like a conductor with a baton. This song is more suited to Ward’s pretty soprano rather than the painted torch singer she tried to be in ‘Fool For Loving You’; it sores and flows with grace and beauty. ‘My Lips Won’t Be Kept Clean’ sounds like a track from the soundtrack to Walk The Line with Ward and Turin playing Carter and Cash but it feels like it was added for the hell of it rather than any artistic integrity for the continuity of the album.
‘Troubles of Loretta’ – “Staring down the barrel of a hand me down Berretta" - is a cross between The Charlie Daniels Band and Pulp Fiction. The fiddle and guitar trade leads and Ward and Turpin’s duets move the song along at a fiery pace. ‘Dirty Water’ is another fine example of what Ward is capable of when she isn't trying to force it. Her husky delivery, reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt, and the blues-flavoured music, complete with a fabulous crunchy guitar solo, drives the rhythm along.
The final two tracks, ‘Bye Bye Bird’, with its edgy guitar and Turpin's impassioned vocals, and the sublime ‘Taste The Rain’ with it's delicate piano intro, are perhaps the purest examples of what this band is capable of. When the masks are off and the band concentrates on really communicating their sound this is the result. Beautiful blues-tinged songs full of life and colour with Ward and Turpin’s magnificent voices playing off each other like birds in flight.
They've laid out their stall. Initial indications are that we can expect wonderful things from them in the future.