By Jason Grishkoff | May 28th, 2010
This is a bit of a unique review in that it covers a band with a member that frequently contributes to Indie Shuffle as a guest contributor. Namely, Peter Lancely, who’s recently updated blog can be viewed here: This Music Wins. Regardless of that affiliation, I’m going to have to be objective here. Kinnie The Explorer cite their influences as The National, Girls and Explosions in the Sky. The latter is obvious, and probably the most redeeming characteristic of their music. I understand where the former might be assumed, but I’m going to compare their vocals instead to Bombay Bicycle Club.
The four tracks on their EP “Blood, It’s On Every Wall” focus heavily on instrumentation, and I ought to make it very clear that this is my favorite part of the music. The production is crisp and round; the guitar riffs are harmonic and clean. Indeed, it was quite surprising to learn that the band had been together for less than six months at the time of release on April 28, 2010.
Where I’m on the fence is with vocals: they’re low, subtle, and often in stark contrast to the music over which they lie. I believe that the above song “Sleep” represents the most effective use of vocals by the group, and I’ll admit that after listening through the full EP a number of times, they have begun to grow on me. They are however, a little weak — perhaps guttural — for my liking. Where I’m torn is that I’m not sure what type of vocal styling would better suit this music. In fact, I’m not even sure there should be a different style — in their current state, they embody a post-rock sound through and through.
The song “From The Floor” may be one exception. It’s on this one more than any other that I am reminded of Bombay Bicycle Club. Chances are that’s a direct result of the upbeat cadence, and yet the vocals still seem to convey a slower, post-rock tinge. Regardless, I think this may be a better direction for the band to pursue as they further their career (barring the cheesy bridge at about 2:00, which hints heavily at some type of Americana influence. Yeehaw!). Post-rock certainly has its time and place, but today the majority of money to be made by small artists is in touring. I’m of the personal stance that, in general, audiences are no long eager to stand around spacing out to post-rock unless the name of the artist is “Explosions in the Sky”. It’s enjoyable through my headphones and in a calm setting, but with the exception of this song, I’d almost certainly be falling asleep at a live performance. Please disagree with me if you feel so — my opinion is just one man’s after all.
While Kinnie The Explorer are a young band, the untrained ear would have a hard time discerning that. As such, I’m going to give them one-and-a-half thumbs up, and I’m not the only one to do so: they will be playing with Noah and the Whale on June 30th, which undoubtedly indicates their talent has been recognized elsewhere. In all honesty, I was quite surprised by the quality and enjoyability of their music. If you’re in the same boat as me, I’d suggest you check out their Bandcamp by clicking on the image above.