Since forming in 2008 and later signing to One Little Indian Kill It Kid have failed to achieve a level of commercial success to match their glowing reviews.
Part of the appeal for reviewers of their 2009 self titled debut album was how much this group, that formed in the gentile setting of Bath Spa University, sounded like a grizzled but edgy delta rock-blues band.
Confidence shined throughout this debut, with classic US rock mixing perfectly with fiddle, banjo and indie chic. Clashmusic.com among others gave this debut a nine out of ten, labelling it “an outstanding British record”
A few festival appearances followed, including the global industry beauty parade that is SXSW, but they never gained the huge CD sales and high place on festival posters that their big sound deserved.
With this their second album that could all change. While we at Neonfiller liked their first album it still sounded a little too safe, a little too polished. It looks like they may have felt the same.
Gone is the fiddle and banjo, the radio friendly polish has been taken off and the guitars, vocals and piano have been cranked up and dragged through the mud. The result is a dirty, loud, ballsy rock album more akin to Australian acts such as The Drones and Bad Seeds than the rootsy American sound of their debut.
There’s still an element of radio friendly safety on the album. ‘Heart Rested With You’, which was released as a single in September 2011, is among our least favourite tracks, sounding a little too much like late 1980s The Cult.
But on the whole this change of direction works well as does the neat idea of sampling strange deep south preacher ramblings around the songs. These at times merge into the vocals of guitarist and lead singer Chris Turpin. It’s impossible to tell the two apart in places.
Opener ‘You’re in My Blood’ sets the tone perfectly. Preacher ramblings, dirty rock guitar riff and a fine vocal turn from pianist Stephanie Ward, who thankfully is given lead vocal duties throughout the album. She’s clearly been to the big and ballsy school of singing since their debut album (disclaimer: actual school may not exist).
As with their debut the best vocal effect is when Turpin and Ward sing together, such as on ‘Pray On Me’, which was also released as a single in 2011 and is our standout track on this album.
Turpin at times sounds a little like Ian Astbury from The Cult. But that’s not a criticism. It’s just the big vocal performance that is needed, especially to compete with the emerging singing talents of Ward.
Such traditional blues- rock music rarely excites us at Neonfiller, but there’s such an edge to Kill It Kid in their latest incarnation that we’ve been left exhilarated. Listening to this we are going to do what Clash Music did with the band’s debut release and give them some deserved hype and a similarly high score. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself and finally this excellent UK act get the huge success they deserve.
by Joe Lepper