Sunday, October 9, 2011

Album Review: Kite Party - Baseball Season

There's a nifty little term, coined by the ancient Greeks, used to describe the excessive pride and arrogance expressed by an individual that most often results in the bearer's demise. "Hubris", commonly portrayed in Greek Mythology, refers to the larger than life haughtiness of a hero, especially that which causes him to believe that no feat is unattainable. Odysseus, Kanye West, Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper - they all display some level of hubris with their notions that they can indeed do no wrong. At first listen, Baseball Season sounds completely hubristic in nature. Frontman Russ Edling drops such presumptuous lines as "the wind told me my future". Guitar lines rise and fall and tumble upon each other in their ceaseless effort to garner more of the listener's attention. At the dawn of each chorus, the members of Kite Party seem to play with absolutely zero regard for tomorrow or each other. This is the point where Baseball Season should fall flat on its face.

Yet this is the point where it doesn't. Despite maintaining some bloated sense of self-importance in both its songwriting and general execution, Kite Party's second LP comes together and concludes just as it arrived: confidently detached yet in one piece. No Oedipal demise awaits Baseball Season; rather, its fate lies very much in the hands of its makers, none more than vocalist Edling's. When he belts out "I'll live and die with a fire burning in my eyes" near the end of 'Arizona', you realize that he truly, deeply lives for this. Music isn't just some sort of distraction or a means to and end for Edling & co., it is the end. Closing track 'We Won't Survive' doesn't employ a borderline epic fade-out just for shits and giggles, it does so because Kite Party couldn't possibly allow themselves to depart in any lesser fashion.

It can't be said that Kite Party do no wrong on Baseball Season, but their missteps are few and far between. Closing line of track two 'Runner' comes off as excessive as Edling sings "I want to run into the ocean,/because it's all I've ever known." I can't see the chorus of 'Spirit Gum' as anything less than stupidly juvenile with its repetition of "I'll be your little boy/I'll be your little toy." Such slips are so easily ignorable though when considering the overall precision and perfectly constructed atmospheres on Baseball Season. The attention to detail on 'Hightower' makes for not only the record's premier track, but also one of 2011's most finely crafted songs. In converging the best elements of shoegaze, indie rock, and even modern emo, Kite Party leave a lasting impression with so resolute an effort.

When all is said and done, Kite Party's strategy is simple: aim high, shoot higher. Their ambition and originality is best summed up in a recent interview response: "We make music that sounds like Russell/Andre/Tim/Justin/Pat." Well I don't know a whole hell of a lot about Russell, Andre, Tim, Justin, or Pat… but I do know this much: I really like the way they sound.

Stream Baseball Season on their bandcamp, or head over to their facebook to tell them how much they rule. Kite Party - they're definitely not Katy Perry.

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