Initially it appears obvious Louisiana’s Kindest Lines delicious reverb heavy lo-fi sound is inhabited with the ghosts of early Joy Division and The Cure. But somewhere on their debut long player Covered in Dust they settle on a feminine draped sound that’s somewhat more individual. Somehow reassembling the dark post punk era and flecks it with hints at disco sound of the next decade.
Led by singer Brittany Terry whose voice doesn’t so much pierce as hang like a heavy ethereal mood like smoke rings float over a room. Her words allowing us to enter her world of gentle sadness and disappointment her tone longing like the voice of that ex-girlfriend you miss. Whilst the intricate guitars of Jack Champagne are both minimal yet expressive and redolent of Barney Sumner’s work. Perhaps a better comparison would be the icy cold deconstructed post-electro-punk sound of early New Order, before they got all confident.These rhythms are stark, yet human.
Standout ‘Destructive Paths to Live Happily’ reminds one of the early work of The Cure being fed through a proto protools. This sad eye’d vocal trip through melancholia is laced with sadness and regret. But its the insistent throb of the bass, the twirling guitar lines and the buzz of the keyboards that lace these drum machine beats, slide toward utterly inescapable feet moving crescendos. Brilliant! The theme is returning to with the of ‘In Death Not tO Part’ that’s stuttering beat and seductive vox tumble down the stairs and into the basement of heartbreak.
‘Baltimore; meanwhile is a more upbeat offering, some wistful memories of a trip away, a love letter to a city? Who can tell. But the tone is more love’d up than elsewhere. It’s dreamy melody of it’s chorus, and Justin Blaire Vial’s fluttering synths whisk one off for a giddy ride on the walzer. ‘Strange Birds’ radiates with a almost YAZOO like keyboard line buried in the thud of the bass and hand claps, yet still manages to maintain it’s poise. Like a Goldfrapp tune played by people with early Depeche Mode’s instruments.
I can hear the critics sharpening their knives already. Kindest lines are derivative they will say? But this feels more like a fond homage to their influences, than a cynical creation. Don’t let the cold exterior feel you KL are a band gleefully sprinkling their favourite records with emotive pieces of magic dust. Kindest lines from the coldest of hearts….
Covered in Dust is out on Wierd Records on the 15th of June.