This Red Kite, from Norway, are not be confused with an alt-rock band of the same name from London, as an internet search can get a tad confusing!
Deliciously scuzzy, like a good vibe in an otherwise sleazy nightclub, Red Kite enter our audio world with some pleasant meandering for a minute or two before bass player Trond Frønes switches on and launches straight into a propulsive and familiar marching beat, and so it is that a scorching cover of Alice Coltrane’s Ptah, the El Daoud is off on a quest for sonic nirvana. The other four tracks are all composed by guitarist Even Helte Hermansen.
The sound on this track and all through the album is like looking at a music shop through a frosted glass window. Everything gives the impression of being fed through overdriven valve amps, with one of the cathodes about to blow. Unlike some bands I could mention, where musos too young to know better think an over compressed sound is fine, just because it was recorded in a famous studio, here the distortion is an obviously deliberate ploy, and serves to heighten the very live and crackling atmosphere.
The rhythm section is integral to the propulsive power of the record, and on the endearingly titled 13 Enemas For Good Luck, a shuffling beat by Trond and his rhythm buddy Torstein Lofthus on the drums allows guitarist Even Helte Hermansen to howl away in the background with barely suppressed glee, followed by pianist Bernut André Moen joining in the fun, both as a melodic anchor, and occasionally extrapolating through the sonic murk. Marvellous!
Jazz buffs will recognise the play on words that is Focus On Insanity, the rest of us can get lost in a fiery piece of music, as evidenced in the video above.
Fly A Little Bullfinch Through The Window, and album closer You Don’t Know, You Don’t Know (I see what they did, there!) serve as reflective counterpoints to the rest of the album’s intensity. Ending with the slow and contemplative You Don’t Know… is a good move, a nice comedown from a full-on trip.
As it seems everyone in the relatively sparsely populated Scandinavia is either in a band, was in a band, or knows someone in a band, it is inevitable that most of these band members are only one or two steps removed from that well established edge-of-seat rollicking fusion-psych-improv collective, Elephant9, indeed Torstein was a founder member. That band’s wonderful Psychedelic Backfire album was reviewed on these very pages not so long ago, and if you’re into that bag, you’ll certainly get into this corker of a debut album, too!
01. Ptah, The El Daoud (11:42)
02. 13 Enemas For Good Luck (7:40)
03. Flew A Little Bullfinch Through The Window (4:57)
04. Focus On Insanity (10:21)
05. You Don’t Know, You Don’t Know (7:17)
Total Time – 42:01
Torstein Lofthus – Drums
Trond Frønes – Bass Guitar
Bernut André Moen – Keyboards
Even Helte Hermansen – Lead Guitar
Record Label: RareNoise Records
Country Of Origin: Norway
Date Of Release: 28th June 2019
Red Kite – Facebook | Bandcamp