Kicking – Us Against


The latest EP release from Jackson, Mississippi’s doomgaze five piece Kicking entitled Us Against is a three song release clocking in at under twenty minutes building on the extraordinarily creative output they’ve managed since their first release in 2017. Kicking isn’t overwhelming us with sheer numbers but, instead, demonstrate creative vision few acts on the indie scene share in the modern music scene. The cross-section of genders compromising the band’s lineup gives their music an unique sensibility and feel further distinguishing them from similarly styled outfits, but there’s nothing about Kicking smacking of novelty or gimmick acts. Instead, the three songs on the band’s latest EP testify to the substantive musical and songwriting prowess they bring to bear each time out and their exponential growth as musicians and songwriters is glorious to hear for established fans and introduces the band’s talents to newcomers in a very memorable way.

The first song on the EP, “Shallow”, is arguably the release’s most straight ahead number. The central riff pushing the song along reflects the strong chemistry shared by guitarists David and SG, but they aren’t content with merely bludgeoning listeners with their power chords. Instead, there’s a strong art present in how the band presents their musical attack on the opener and they prove to be adept enough for shifting gears later on in the tune. Lead singer Bobbie immediately stands out, largely thanks to the contrast between her immensely musical voice and the dissonant backing, but she grabs your attention thanks to her obvious commitment to the performance as well. The carefully orchestrated second half of the tune introduces newcomers to the band to Kicking’s varied creativity, but it never ventures too far afield from what they do well in the song’s opening.

The guitar work isn’t quite as heavy with the EP’s second track “The Haunt”, but the increased clutter of the second song never dilutes its overall impact. The emotive surge in her voice comes across here, as well, and it’s nothing less than an unmitigated pleasure to hear how an improbably melodic voice meshes so well with the musical arrangement. The increased emphasis on atmospherics with this song doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of the band’s guitar duo, but this is a more diverse treatment than we heard with the opener and the musical colors clash and swirl in a compelling way.

The final number “Unkind” is much more reminiscent, superficially, of the EP opener and definitely qualifies as Bobbie’s best vocal performance by far. She throws herself into the performance and lyric with the sort of abandon we don’t hear in the earlier fine outings and the extended instrumental introduction leading to her vocal perfectly sets it up. It’s the EP’s second longest tune but, like the EP’s lengthiest number “Shallow”, reflects the focus and attentiveness to detail that marks the release as whole. Us Against has plenty of punch and musical firepower from the first and Kicking’s songwriting acumen only continues to grow with each new release.


Sebastian Cole