First, their genre is now ‘rock’ and not ‘folk rock’ or ‘bluegrass’. And this is a good start. Whilst I (for one) lament the end of the era of fiddle and banjo, others -who have been seeking out the sounds of ‘Kill It Kid’ because they discovered their tunes on YouTube- (‘Pray On Me’ has had over 30,000 views and is included on this disc) will have their patience and keen anticipation amply rewarded.
Nevertheless, ‘You’re in my Blood’ starts like Americana heaven. Dust-bowl voices and even a Jimi-ish star spangled banner-like theme is lightly drawn by squeezy scuzzy guitar. Then the song moves through a landscape that lovers of Jack White and The Raconteurs will be familiar with. Buzzy windswept notes glimpse through the drafty sound beams creating a lot of sawdust-cushions for Stephanie to lay down her sleepy head and gasp out those lazy-day vocals. And all the time, piano and guitars provide a juicy riff.
‘Heart Rested With You’ is a ripe cider barrel of succulent sounds – boasting the ever flavorsome and fruity vocals of Chris. Stephanie seems to be hanging out under the piano grooves, and the frequently adroit basslines add a sense of hurry. As usual for Kill It Kid we get a pondering, rolling beat that seems like it is played on a cardboard box by Marc- and this box-top drumming nicely sets up the satisfying end-piece.
‘Wild and Wasted Waters’ – like all recorded work by this band, this sounds more live than anything you have ever heard before. You are immediately transported to a fly infested dilapidated swamp-barn, where the band sings this ole’ gospel-hymn from the heart. And if you like the sound of Primitive Baptist music (like that found on the sound-track for the movie ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’) then you will surely love this.
Haunting voices from West of the Yazoo River don’t come any more impassioned or eerie than those on ‘Dark Hearted Songbird’ and this is the first time I have actually started to mentally compare Stephanie Ward’s voice with that of Florence Welch. Spooky, high and almost gothic in manifestation.
‘Run’ still has the shotgun, woodpile, cherry-cake atmosphere of the Mississippi Delta.
‘Sweet Nothings’ has chicken-scratch guitars and tap-a-tap percussion. Vocals from Chris veer from gravel-road to dusty throat-shred and the tune pluckily stomps along. A clappy cloppy authentically earthy song.
Bluesy ‘Home’ starts with a piercing pleading cry from-the-heart (from Steph) before the slinky squishy guitar from Chris gloops, sloops and boats across the pool of rippled sounds- thumped and thumbed along by Adam’s bass. The fragile voice almost breaks apart because of the tension and anxiety created by the prevailing sense of emptiness.
Title track ‘Let My Feet Fall Heavy’ creates a sense of foreboding quickly … as if the hunt had begun for the State’s ‘Most Wanted’- the hounds were fed and the posse has been armed. But where would you hide the outlaw, I wonder? Perhaps in the barn. A sense of confusion is created by angular rhythms and distraught guitar sounds. The chang of keys here. The chatter of windy cymbals there. You can’t quite hear what’s going on because of the wind in the trees. But then the cry goes up – the fugitive has been found. The chorus smashes into view with the intensity of a swampland thunderstorm on a bitter morning. Oh golly gosh, this is dramatic stuff!
27 September 2011
Produced by Leo Abrahams
Engineered and Mixed by Charlie Francis
Recorded at Fortress Studios, Shoreditch
One Little Indian Records
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