Kinships – Vice (2021)

The turbulent swirl of thoughts and emotions often threaten to overwhelm us if we don’t fight to find a moment of peace. This conflict of internal forces has been taken by Kinship and transformed into their pulsing EP Vice. With tracks that bring alternative and electronic sounds together in intriguing bursts, the band helps us stand against the internal storm and find some peace of mind.

Tom Butler, Dave Crawford, Aoife Foley and Adam Gammage are the four-piece bringing the shifting sound of the EP to our ears. Formed in 2019, the band defies typical genre classification, while combining and juxtaposing organic and electronic melodic devices. This merger of tones creates songs that move you, while swirling with subtle nuance.



The light tones of ‘Deeper’ open the EP with a layering of organic and electronic tones. The vocals echo and reverberate through the opening to grab your attention and lead you to the more melodic vocal lines. There is a sigh and whisper to the vocal performances that lift something heavy off your chest. The airiness of the performance is delicate and tender, while the melody swirls with pastel-coloured clouds. The overall lightness of the track is amazing, which makes the vibrating tones that come later more impressive. These tones warble through the softness, creating a contrasting darkness, that somehow works perfectly with the airiness. While soft and delicate, the melody is dynamic, while the lyrics create a sharp yearning yet bolstering feeling.

‘Dissolve’ moves from one side of your head to the other with the electronic tones of the opening. The tapping beats are light like someone tapping their legs before an almost droning pulse comes in. The vocals bring the organic layer of the single with the same airiness of the opening track. While similar in lightness, there is a strange weight to the performance, like mist that settles on your skin and adds a wet weight to you. The pace of the melody picks up with the guitar getting you to shimmy to its rhythm. This increased tempo drops for the vocals that have a searching feeling to them as they try to reach the root cause of the turbulent emotions they feel. The dual vocals work so wonderfully together and offer a sonic representation of the layers of emotion that swirl inside all of us.

The shuffling tones and deep beats of ‘Reform’ meet vocals that have a more soulful feeling to them. There is an earthy touch to the vocals that makes them more intimate as they close around you for the verses. A darker mistiness comes through on the chorus, enhancing the twilight feeling of the music. Through this track, the band showcases their musical prowess and lets you know that they can bring a darker side to their sound. The lyrics complete this with a dampening feeling that turns into something searching for the glimmer of light. There is a feeling like everything has become too much at this point and you feel too tired to continue fighting for something better.

‘Recover’ has a lighter feeling to the opening, while the beats bring a new tone to the EP. There is an alternative edge to the music that has the lightest off-kilter touch to it. The soft higher tones cover beats that seem to stumble slightly down the soundscape. The vocals twirl around the melody like thoughts flittering through your brain, before the chorus rises out of the depths. There is a pulse of sound that bolsters the chorus, allowing it to stand high above the rest of the track. This is the perfect track to follow the last, as it brings the push you need to recover from the melancholy of the last. The chorus, in particular, provides the push you need and the knowledge that you are not alone in the recovery process.

The title track ‘Vice’ ends the EP with a heavy hit of electronic tones. The vocals through the opening have an electronic tinge that distorts them, while the popping electronic tone forms a strange countdown. The interplay of vocals is interesting, with the echoing distortion of one vocal line being complemented by the lighter and airy tones of the second line. There is a slight dance vibe to the melody at times that shakes up something inside you, while pulsing bright coloured lights into the soundscape. This track is a perfect example of the contrasts the band is capable of, with airy higher tones and pulsing lower tones that connect and separate perfectly. Through all of this, the lyrics battle vices, while not wanting to feel the bitter bite of reality at the same time.

Kinships brings contrasting electronic and organic tones to the turbulent internal forces warring within all of us through the tracks of Vice. The EP contrasts electronic and organic through the melodies, while tapping into the storm of emotion that we all feel. The vocals continue this interplay, while twirling together in a beautiful vocal dance.

Find out more about Kinships on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

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