Thursday, 13 February 2014

THE WHITE KITES - ALBUM REVIEW

The White Kites - Missing (Deep Field Records) 
The White Kites - Missing

This is just mental. When you read that a band is Poland based Psychedelic rock group you expect big, overblown, almost prog tunes. You don't expect 'Yellow Submarine' era Beatles sublimely performed with wit and real affection. Nevertheless, Warsaw based septet The White Kites have created something pretty amazing here and opening track 'Arrival' just confirms this - complete with ringmaster style orations and multi-instrumentation madness throughout. The comparatively serene piano and flute opening to 'The Foreigner' may well be an ode to the band's frontman, Sean Palmer, who is distinctly un-Polish sounding in name but has a perfectly dreamy mid-Atlantic vocal style that suits these musical adventures so well. 'Stowaway Style' is a chugging, jaunty tale of adventures on the high seas whilst 'Percival Buck' is swinging 60s piece of swagger that you could just imagine drifting out of a groovy clothes shop on Carnaby Street back in the day.

'Beyond The Furthest Star' is an epic song, nearly seven minutes long and almost orchestral but it doesn't really do anything for me, it just drags a bit I'm afraid. Nevertheless, 'Should You Wait For Me' is a much more lively waltz of a tune and 'Turtle's Back' almost has a Black Sabbath feel to it but only if Ozzy had been more of a hippy and wrote lines like "Here's my hand, big enough to fit the whole of mankind in". The curiously titled 'When Will May Return?' is not a song about sending Brian May to the shops for a loaf of bread and toilet roll and the inevitable wait for his return. No, rather it is romp through psychedlia infused meadows featuring lyrical topics on the sun and the moon, charms and nymphs. 'Clown King' starts off with a haunting recorder intro followed by dramatic organ work and it is all starting to get a bit Spinal Tap/Stone Henge (please note, I flippin' love Spinal Tap but I'm just not sure if this music is 100% po-faced serious or a perfectly performed tongue-in-cheek homage).

'Pause For Thought' is just under a minute of serenity designed to clear your mind, like a palate cleanser during a five course meal I suppose. Title track, 'The Missing', is like the theme tune to a 60s/70s American cop show with improbable story lines but some great acting and a lot of heartache on the part of the cop. Final track, 'Farewell', is another epic tune in terms of length that doesn't seem to really grab the attention or imagination at any point which is a shame. All in all, I have been pleasantly surprised by this album but it started off better than it finished so maybe an EP would have been better.


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