Hail The Escapist

Written by: DR on 10/06/2010 17:33:31

As of 13th May 2010, Essex-based Kenai were no more. The departures of their synth player and vocalist forced the remaining members to take stock and ultimately decide whether or not they should continue. They decided not to.

Despite the hype surrounding them, and the figurative blowjobs masquerading as "reviews" I've read about this debut, it is by no means a great loss to the British music scene that this band have already called time on their short career. Because, based on this album, they were never going to be the next big thing, they were not going to explode and become colossal, and they weren't going to take anything other than a few We Are The Ocean fans hearts' by storm. Kenai are every post-hardcore band ever that integrated pop-rock hooks with metallic riffs with screams; a few breakdowns and the odd gang shout does not change this fact. The only real difference between these and the acts across the pond doing pretty much the same thing is the fact the production is "glossy" yet much less "thick". The guitars don't crunch, they crease; the drums don't pound, they step. As a result, you're much more likely to sing along to one of the many hooks than you are attempt to "headbang" without messing up your fringe.

I'm not sure if it's a case of musical Stockholm Syndrome, but, after something like twenty-five listens of "Hail The Escapist", I've begun to acknowledge a few saving graces. From a technical point of view, everything is highly assured for a band of such young years. Some of the guitar lines are even, dare I say it, slick. Frontman Dan Lawrence, who's range is impressive throughout, shows he can write a catchy chorus on the rather good "The Fall Before The Finish"; as it happens, that song is the best on the album - proof that a good chorus can save a song - but, it's also the only moment on the album where the snyth is detectable without it seeming like it was threw in just so the less-talented friend wouldn't be left out of the band. "Say What You Want" is another decent chorus-orientated track, if you can overlook the mind-numbingly boring lyrical theme (you can surely guess what it is from the title).

Ultimately, "Hail The Escapist", for all the positives and the slight amount of promise those positives carry, falls short because there is absolutely nothing here that endows Kenai with their own identity - resulting in a largely unmemorable release. Sorry boys, but I doubt even too many scenesters will really miss you.


Download: The Fall Before The Finish
For The Fans of: We Are The Ocean, Yashin, Deaf Havana
Listen: Myspace

Release Date 05.03.2010
Redfield Records

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