Kids In Glass Houses

In Gold Blood

Written by: TL on 26/08/2011 00:05:12

Despite being very positively surprised when I first saw Kids In Glass Houses, back at Give It A Name in 2007, before I had ever heard them, it has more or less puzzled me why the British media has been busily hailing them as some sort of 'next big thing'. Of course they have in fact been the next big thing, at least to come out of Wales after Lostprophets, Bullet For My Valentine and Funeral For A Friend, but in all honesty, that completely baffles me as well. You see, since that first gig, Kids In Glass Houses haven't actually been any good. Not on debut LP "Smart Casual", not on sophomore "Dirt" and not when I last saw them playing support for You Me At Six in Vega.

Despite Kids In Glass Houses not being famous for the most unique of styles, their main problem has always been singer Aled Phillips who, despite owning a characteristic, sharp croon, has continually failed to consistently come up with memorable lyrics and vocal melodies. And for this part, nothing has changed on the sixtet's new album "In Gold Blood" - which has awful album art by the way - with Phillips painfully crooning choruses such as "tonight we're gonna' live forever!" or "we dance into the fire! fire!".

What has changed though, is that KIGH's success has enabled them to step up in terms of production, and as a result, their sound has been blown-up to stadium size and then some. Strings, pianos, choirs, horns and sampled explosions and helicopter noises all combine to make "In Gold Blood" a rather unusual sort of 'CSI Miami/action movie-rock' (this needs to be a genre), and while I was initially tempted to say that it makes fuck all difference when Phillips is not delivering, I woke up somewhere around my fifth listen and realised that I couldn't be further from the truth.

You see while the band is too 'good' at consistently featuring a part in each song (mostly the chorus) which lets the entire composition down, if you learn to bear with them there are more than a handful of effective moments to be found elsewhere. "Fire" for instance, makes up for its lame chorus with a brilliant "Dirty Diana"-esque (Michael Jackson) verse and lo and behold, a fuckin' saxophone solo. That's something that needs to come back in rock in my opinion! Similarly, "Animals" also has a brazen brass section under its chorus, and a hard rockin' riff driving its verse, and towards the middle of the song, Phillips even pulls off an anthemic bit that sounds like it could have been on the latest My Chemical Romance album.

I could go on at length, lining up examples of moments where things briefly go right, but I'd really just recommend you give it a listen yourself - just try to ignore the need to cringe your toes every time the generic choruses come around and bring things down a notch. Do that and I think you might discover that there's actually a wealth of good ideas in play here. Whether those come from KIGH themselves or from producer Jason Perry however, is anyone's guess. Regardless, I think it's a shame that all these sexy little things don't manage to add up in the end, but even facing that admission, I also have to face that "In Gold Blood" is probably the first Kids In Glass Houses album that I find remotely interesting. Now if they can just get Phillips to step his parts up next time.

Download: Fire, Animals, Only The Brave Die Free,
For The Fans Of: Lostprophets (on "The Betrayed"), My Chemical Romance (on "Danger Days"), There For Tomorrow (on "The Verge"), Young Guns

Release Date 15.08.2011
Roadrunner Records

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