As the year begins to draw to a close, now is the time to begin reflecting back upon those gems you may have missed under the tidal wave of excellent releases this year. Kins’ debut self-titled album should definitely be included on that list, as it’s a remarkable record hidden in obscurity that’s a must listen.
Kins create a real impression right off the bat with ‘Pale-faced Fear’. Their Vocals have a Bombay Bicycle Club like tremor to them, which adds a delicious contrast to the sudden pitter patter of high notes. Kins also really build atmosphere within their music: the way in which the slight pause after the intro leads into a delightful piece of guitar solo is very effective.
There’s this sense of depth that you can feel throughout the record: the band have an acute sense of layering sounds together that make an otherwise extremely simple song that much more complex. What also stands out significantly is the way in which the vocalist is perfectly in tune with the backing vocals: it creates some glorious harmonies, which are particularly noticeable in ‘Break ties’.
The tone of this record is also so versatile, one moment you’ll be bouncing on peeling high chimes, and the next minute you’ll be wading through waves of percussion and sinister synth. Importantly this keeps every track fresh and exciting, and avoids that ever present pitfall of having every track sound the same. However, there are moments wherein these sudden changes feel out of place and disjointed, especially during ‘The Love Potion’, which throws you off course in unnecessary ways.
The guitar duo of Thomas and Queline seriously shine in places as well, a high-point is the neatly placed short-but-sweet solo in ‘Post-tropical Storm’, which always makes an impact. Their use of guitar is really dynamic: ephemerally shifting from smooth plain sailing in mood and tempo to something more intense in nature. There’s also a distinct Warpaint feel surrounding the sometimes moody and seductive rhythms used in songs like ‘Demand the Deal’: it’s a heavy and hypnotic tune that delves into your psyche and twists it teasingly.
Unfortunately, things drag a little towards the end, as Kins seem to lose steam and settle down to a stop a bit too early. Perhaps it’s because so much was offered before, but the last two songs end an otherwise prestigious record on a bit of a downer.
I knew seemingly nothing about Kins before listening to this debut, however I’m glad I went on a whim and did give it a listen, because they’re now a band I’m immensely interested in. This record excels on so many levels; with it’s perfect use of vocals, dynamic guitar, intense percussion and experimentation with pacing. It only falls on the final hurdle, and if not for that, this would be a flawless debut.
Kins was released on July 8th 2013 by East City Records