The Kissaway Trail

Sleep Mountain

Written by: TL on 20/03/2010 19:31:26

A little while ago, we were sent the new album from Danish art-rockers The Kissaway Trail, called "Sleep Mountain". Now, I haven't been acquainted with the band before, save for hearing them hyped plenty in the indie-obsessed Danish music media, and hence I figured that this arrival was as good an opportunity as any, to finally check them out and add a bit to my indie knowledge base.

And "Sleep Mountain" does indeed check most boxes for what I expect when people tell me I am about to listen to indie music. Floaty soundscapes, mostly held together by a single, simple, sparkling melody, which leads the listener into a layered, relaxed atmosphere, to be treated to vocal work of the kind that is well done, yet can be said to be all too stereotypical for the genre. Bands like Animal Collective and MGMT come to mind fast enough, except that this band are nowhere near as likely candidates for an electronica label. Then maybe Arcade Fire and Oh No Ono are just as good, if not better comparisons? (My indie-obsessed girlfriend seems to think so at least).

Overall, I've been enjoying my numerous spins of this here new album, mostly because The Kissaway Trail manage to create a rather immersive and recognizable soundscape, which is soothing and interesting to listen to, without getting too boring. I write 'too boring', because in the end my main problem with the band might simply be that they've chosen to pursue a different aesthetic from what's normally held in regard here. You see, despite the layering and the developments in the songs on this album, I still hardly ever really feel like it goes anywhere. Like a pretty piece of art, it unfolds and lets the visitor in to enjoy it, yet it doesn't seem to do much in terms of stressing any one moment of a song above another. It feels subtle and 'constant', at least to someone whose ideas of what's good come from background that's rock first and indie second. A more simpleminded person would likely be prone to listen to it and remark that, "yeah, that sounds pretty, now what?".

Fortunately for the band, they have some songs that manage to stick to your brain regardless, and hence this album is likely to be remembered, if not in its entirety then for "Beat Your Heartbeat", "SDP", "New Year" or "New Lipstick". That being said, it is very very subtle, floaty and casual this music, and as a writer, I can't help but miss a bit of something which would mix up the intensity more dramatically and convince me that The Kissaway Trail are awesome rather than just good.


Download: Beat Your Heartbeat, New Year, New Lipstick, SDP
For The Fans Of: Animal Collective, The Arcade Fire, Oh No Ono

Release Date 01.03.2010
Bella Union / Etch n Sketch / Playground Records

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