EP Review: Kestrels - The Solipsist

    The Solipsist is the first Kestrels release since their debut full length, Primary Colours. It kicks off with “The Light,” which like any good record opening, tricks you into turning your stereo up loud to hear a washy, distant, wavering guitar, before kicking into a full band pop song. Right off the bat, the vocals are front and center, and sounding more confident in their melodies. Shimmering guitars are still important but they're pushed slightly off to the sides now. A brief vocal break near the end of the song is a great place to take a breath before the song slams back into gear and finishes off with a rapid drum roll wind down.

Plenty of whammy bar action dots the landscape of “What Happens,” but ultra heavy drum and fuzz riffs and punctuated vocal stabs also mingle with lead guitar jingles to give a broad intro into a fantastic guitar solo. Early shot note build ups anticipate the ultra heavy breakdown but nothing could you prepare you for the crushing guitar sound of the “heaviest fuzzes” moments that seem to be crucial to any Kestrels release. The swashy hi-hats and authoritative snare drum drive the catchy verses while deep whammy bends swirl around your brain.

The over lapping, cavernous vocals of “Dead Time” are a good move that would sound great repeated in other songs, but the band still faces the reality of being a single singer, three piece band, and the record stays fairly faithful to the sound the band can produce live (which is, rest assure, just as massive as the record). Once again the vocals are strong and up front, and not as buried in the mix as on previous releases.

The 4 songs packed into this EP have a familiar feel, to be sure, but the production and the songwriting feel much more confident and solid, and it feels like the band is moving from it's shoe-gaze roots to something with more pop polish. It's all over pretty quickly, at only 12 minutes and 13 seconds of music, fading out with the slow down grove of “Throw Aggi Off The Bridge”, but it leaves you wanting more, which is probably the goal of any good EP.

Little touches like the synchronized guitar and vocal flourishes of “The Light” become apparent on repeat lessons, which this EP surely warrants. All of the songs seem to have a depth that was seen and hinted at on the last release, and while the songs don't sound drastically different from each other, it seems like every moment on the record has a deep layer to be discovered on a second or third listen.

As the title of the record suggests, Kestrels are really only sure of their own sound, and no other, so they take that sound to the fullest and furthest extreme to which it should reasonably be taken. It may have been easy to suggest that Kestrels were a throw back band, mournful for a specific time and place of a little known 90's rock scene, but I think this record proves that they're looking no where expect to the future, and this brief taste should excite you for another full length record – expect to see these guys really break out, as they show no sign of slowing down.

- Dan Nightingale


See and hear Kestrels TONIGHT during their 7" Release Party for "The Solipsist" @ The Seahorse Tavern w/ The Sleepless Nights & Hospital Grade!


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