Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kestrels The Solipsist EP on Noyes Records

This single from Noyes Records came in the other day by the band, Kestrels, out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, a 4 song EP with a photo contact sheet sleeve. The Black and white negatives feature nothing but bleak surroundings without a person in a sight.
Which is nothing like the feel of these indie pop jangly tracks inside.

"The Light" on the A-Side has a quiet, slow intro, the haze of delayed layers is barely making it's way closer and closer to a frantic indie all at once surprise explosion. They get me every time dammit, just when I start wondering when the song is going to start...ouch. Just high enough borderline falsetto vocals with big power like Doug Martch, harmonizing with the tracks of himself. They hint at their handiwork with false starts, or a half beat behind the rhythm and even have time for a far away feedback solo then it's back to optimistic chords and dense pop.
Next up, "What Happens", starts off with a solo electric chord opening and then repeatedly stops on a dime for weezer-esque breaks and near acapella. A wah wah pedal raises the bar on the guitarwork...they love these changes, like exercise. A big refrain, drums booming and all of a sudden it's, "MY NAME IS JONAH...." That force of instrumentation building on one another in an instant. That expert bent chord sound coloring every note. A hell of a fast paced, sweaty windows down ride.
Putting this up next to that Dog Day release has this label, so far, stepping into the huge shoes of indie-pop pioneers, Slumberland. Back when "indie" was still something a little more relevant than "alternative".

Dead Time on the B-Side, has a far off, narrow echo, thin distortion distance from Something about Airplanes, a little bit tin can telephone just for a few seconds and only to flip the huge sound switch again, and if you think it's're wrong. Chad has a great vocal quality throughout, that natural abstract songwriting that doesn't get indie precious, while the song itself really highlights their love of the layers of guitar. It's always mixed into the background but it's the backbone of every piece. These harmony layered vocals as great as they are shouldn't be separated from this. They really get into it with this complete digital(?) meltdown towards the end of this one.
Finally they round out the whole thing with a Black Tambourine cover, "Throe Aggie off the Bridge", I still haven't heard the original but they make it sound like a natural fit.

It's feel good, summer pop worth firing up the turntable for. Totally consistent, fun, end of the century pop with honest guitar work that's never going to get old.
Even more impressive is that they jam pack this 7" with 4 equally great tracks, I have to think these sounds must come TOO naturally, and they aren't taking it for granted yet. There isn't a second of filler, a double A side definition.
If any of the bands mentioned above strike a nostalgic chord then let that indie flag fly to the put in cart button. It really shouldn't be one of those amazing sought after high priced singles 10 years from now...because you'll have one.

33 rpm EP with the first 100 on clear blue vinyl, a glossy cardstock insert and a full length coming in July. More songs then they needed to be noticed.

Get this one from Noyes Records or the Kestrels themselves.

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