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Kins might have been made in Melbourne, Australia, but their sound owes a debt to Britain.
Many of the tracks which will eventually make up a full-length debut album were written in Brighton.
The two most recent tracks to be unleashed pay some homage to Oxford too.
A demo called Top And Turn on the Sea Monsters 3 compilation has intelligent arrangements and acidic vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on a Radiohead record.
Break Ties, the previous demo, also gazes to Thom Yorke’s band’s later work, with dizzying synths, growling basslines and busy and repetitive programmed drums.
“We’ve always had that comparison,” admits Thomas Savage, Kins’ 24-year-old singer and songwriter.
“First we took it as a bad thing but in my opinion they are one of greatest bands that have ever existed, so if people say we sound like them, I’ll take it.”
In truth, we live in a post-Radiohead time – the band’s influence seeps into all new indie music. Not so long ago Muse were written off as a Radiohead clone. It never did Matt Bellamy any harm.
Not that Kins are a carbon copy. A seven-track demo – Dancing Back And Forth, Covered In Whipped Cream – has wistful, ambient dream-pop such as (For This Modern Day), sung by Savage’s fellow Aussie, keyboardist Jackie. Mockasin’s is sparse melancholic pop which reminds of The xx. Lake Troposphere and The Last Detail have noodling lead guitars over solid percussion with clever melodies slotted over the top.
Still, that mini album was made by the band’s old line-up and before Savage and Jackie moved to Brighton in November 2011.
The two members who never made it (Thomas’s bass-playing brother had his visa turned down and a previous drummer returned home after a small European tour en route to England) were replaced by Rob from Wolverhampton and an old friend of Savage’s, Alex, another Aussie, who moved down from London to play drums.
Savage says they have spent the past four months in and out of the studio trying to put together a proper follow-up.
“We’ve not released anything for a while because we’ve been working hardcore in the studio. We are coming out with some good stuff which accurately depicts where we are now.
“There are 60-plus songs in the basket but we have to pick 12 we think are strongest.”
The newest are the most relevant, he adds, but one is three and a half years old.
“It’s timeless. It still feels relevant now. Others that are same age might feel basic and get tossed away. What I can say is we are definitely trying to go for an old-school start-to-finish album.”
Jackie sings again on a new track to be demoed at Sea Monsters 3.
“Her voice is splashed in every now and then because it’s beautiful.
“Cliché Ridden is a recent song and it’s paranoia about the media and what it is going to say about us, what people are going to say about the music, and the need to build clichés to protect our privacy but at the same time being true to ourselves.”
He fears being called terrible, he explains.
“The lyrics are ambiguous and vague and it puts up a barrier. I like the idea of having some mystery, otherwise I would be writing a novel.”
Indeed, he’s a little cagey about his biography.
He says he developed his writing as part of a duo, Oh Mercy. A quick Wikipedia check reveals Alexander Gow still continues the band, which was nominated for a 2012 EG Music Award run by Australia’s The Age newspaper.
“We used to play in a band together and over an eight-year period I really developed strong ideas about what I wanted. It came to a point where, as a duo, we couldn’t use our own ideas. We were stubborn, so logically I wanted to get into a situation where I didn’t have to compromise.”
Savage namechecks Alt-J (a group who Kins share a management team with), Norwegian Jenny Hval and Here We Go Magic (Thom Yorke’s a fan) as favourites at the moment.
He’s a fan of classic songwriters, too.
“My initial vision was to create a Neil Young-style band around a piano and I would play acoustic guitar. Now it is completely the opposite – we try to incorporate what we perceive to be organic but we’ve got a lot of grit and fuzz, and at live shows we appreciate the brutal approach. We have shifted far from my initial vision but it was natural and good.”
He spent the first six months here badgering the music industry to listen and is a strong-willed character, determined to succeed.
“The political set-up we have is autocratic where one person calls the shots. People have opinions and we share, but I have the final say. That’s how it functions. It works well. We all get along as friends and they all love the music.”
- The Prince Albert, Trafalgar Street, Brighton, Monday, January 21. Part of the Sea Monsters #3 Festival, starts 8pm, tickets £5 per night or £25 for a week pass. Call Resident on 01273 606312
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