The Kissaway Trail
It's almost two weeks since the release of The Kissaway Trail's self-titled debut album, and in no way should my late review be blamed upon the quality of the product. Nope, you can blame third-year uni work for that. The album itself has actually been a godsend, soundtracking the last few weeks of essay hell and helping me see the light at the end of the educational tunnel. You'll be hard-pressed to find a review that doesn't liken this Dutch five-piece to the uplifting and progressive likes of Arcade Fire and Flaming Lips. Well, I'll go one better and throw in comparisons to Death Cab For Cutie, the Trail also peddling sensitive and evocative 'emo' (don't think black) for grown-ups, and Sigur Ros, whose epic sense of grandeur is also felt on the record. Despite the various references, The Kissaway Trail manage to carve their own unique music over the space of eleven tracks.
Opener Forever Turned Out To Be Too Late alerts the listener immediately with its lyric 'Hey! If you're listening you'll hear...', an undertow of organ chord changes giving way to a majestic track. The marching beat and epic arrangement of debut single Smother + Evil = Hurt makes it sound like a lost song off Fire's Funeral, although it is far from the only gem. La La Song and In Disguise show the album's versatility, the former a euphoric 'pop' moment complete with handclaps and the latter a dark Interpol-esque song that seems to be focusing on paedophilia - 'His conduct is just for show/They will do it again/Their sickness can't be cured'. Meanwhile, other tracks blend the light and the heavy, Tracy sounding summery and melodic but featuring lyrics tinged with melancholy and ambiguity, such as 'You clutched someone else's hand/Saw grandeur in your eyes'. It is this balancing act that makes the album such an unpredictable and enchanting listen. Although I must admit I couldn't distinguish between the two male singers, the vocals do further add to proceedings. The listener is one moment being wooed by emotional croons, on the likes of the organic It's Close Up Far Away and high drama of Sometimes I'm Always Black, and then is called to arms by the insistent claim that 'We can, we're strong, we'll beat it!' on 61, a rival to any of Polyphonic Spree's take-on-the-world anthems.
The trail ends at Bleeding Hearts, the perfect closer with its three-act intro/instrumental mid-section/outro structure; all that, and it's a beautiful song to boot! This band are perhaps too impressive to make any considerable dent in the charts. For anyone with ears, though, The Kissaway Trail combine eccentricity with just plain great songs.