Denmark. A country perhaps not best known for its music scene, but Copenhagen-based The Kissaway Trail released their first EP in 2006, followed it up with their debut album just three months later, and have been plugging away steadily ever since. I’d seen the name on festival line-ups without ever having heard any of their stuff, but the fact that they’re signed to the reliably brilliant YepRoc was enough to get me excited about hearing their latest, Breach.
Opener ‘Tell the Truth’ gets us off to a promising start, seguing between low-fi, Flaming Lips-esque vocals and lush instrumental sections, all of it shot through with just the right amount of jangly guitars. It’s a sound that works well for them, and dominates the first half of the album. The introduction to ‘Cuts of Youth (Eternal Summer)’ could almost be an outtake from the Phil Spector Christmas album, and ‘Sarah Jevo’ clatters along like a train, all driving snare drums and anthemic vocals; a single track if ever I heard one!
But this feels very much like an album of two halves, and the second half is all about synth. It comes off like a love letter to early New Order; the first 50 seconds of ‘So Sorry’ in particular have more than a touch of ‘Blue Monday’ to them. It might be a bit derivative but generally they’ve made it work for them, and it helps that those gorgeous, woozy vocals are still there to hold it all together. There are a couple of weak spots here –‘Shaking the Mote’ and ‘Robot’ both feel a bit directionless, and I find myself wondering whether the album really needs two instrumental tracks. Fortunately they bring it all home for closer ‘A Rainy Night in Soho’, which ties all that synth to a pounding drum line and a sense of melancholic nostalgia in its refrain of ‘whatever happened to that old song?’
All in all, this is by no means a perfect album, but it’s always interesting, and there are quite a few tracks that I can imagine dancing around to at 4 in the morning! Maybe I had the wrong idea about Denmark after all.