Brushing up against an ominous bassline, the guitars that adorn the main verses in “Waiting,” one of five songs that listeners will find in Kingdom of Birds’ new record Glitz, are at peace with the melancholic crunch of the reverberating percussion that shadows their every move. Though different from the Thurston Moore-esque shimmer of “Dotted Lines,” the string play that we encounter in “Waiting” is flanked with a postmodernity and sharp tonality that is found throughout this latest EP from the teenaged band, which amounts to a really engaging listen that distinguishes itself nicely from the output of the group’s peers.
“Dotted Lines” and “Unknown” are all about their physicality, whereas “Your Friends,” “Goodbye” and “Waiting” are a lot more barebones structurally. For a band comprised of musicians as young as 11 and no older than 16, Kingdom of Birds have a lot of moxie when they tackle big melodies like those in “Unknown,” and though they get a little out of their depth in the psychedelic-folk hybrid that is “Waiting,” it isn’t hard to hear the potential that they’ve got as songwriters. With the right influences around them in the studio, they could easily stylize this sound into something more cerebral for sure.
Aside from the charming music video that the band made for the song, I could have lived without “Goodbye” in this tracklist, but not because of anything flawed in its aesthetical make-up. On its face, “Goodbye” is one of the more emotive tracks on Glitz; it’s just that, for me, I don’t see the need to include it next to jarring noise pop like “Dotted Lines” and “Waiting.” A song this dreamy belongs on a cleaner, more acoustic-based release, as in this scenario it comes off as underwhelming compared to the tracks that utilize the band’s strengths more fully. They’ve got another LP in them for sure, and based on the ambitions they exhibit here, I definitely plan on giving it a close listen.
Glitz is an EP that shoots for the stars, and four out of five times, it meets the mark and leaves a good impression on listeners with an ear for indie rock simplicity. There’s some bugs that need to be worked out behind the soundboard, but as far as I’m concerned, Kingdom of Birds are a band that have got a lot of talent that shouldn’t go without notice among critics. They’ve got a mature sound for their age, and with more time and experience under their belts, I have a feeling that they will make some really compelling music.