This Is The Kit is the shit...I mean that in a good way!Rough Trade, 2017
7.8 / 10
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many times in the future. We don’t always manage to cover every band or artist, especially the ones who prove to be exceptional. Case in point is the band This Is The Kit. Singer/songwriter Katie Stables fronts the band, and this marks the fourth release of the project. But it might as well be the first for me. Leaping from Bandcamp to Rough Trade, I won’t be the only one just now discovering this band. And you’ll want to discover their latest album, Moonshine Freeze. If you fancy folk music that doesn’t sound entirely like folk music, this might be your band. Though, I’m not referring to the Mumford-ized version of mainstream folk either. This Is The Kit’s songs can be out there, but their roots are deeply traditional.
On Moonshine Freeze, Stables pulls material from a variety of sources, including books that you and I will likely never read. Also, as Stables puts it, “the strange accidental fortune-telling nature of the writing process.” This makes for some interesting songs that don’t always offer explicit details. But the imagery is vivid. “Riddled With Ticks” paints a scene of animals in the wild; conveying danger but also instinctual determination to survive and protect. Similarly, “Hotter Colder” takes the listener on a journey into the unknown where fear and excitement intermingle. As the second song on the album, it forgoes the quiet solitude of moody opener “Bullet Proof”. “Hotter Colder” chugs along with subtle, soft guitar riffs that growl just loud enough so you know they’re there. Then, a wicked saxophone comes out of nowhere and chews the scenery to mush.
Another song that maintains a strong momentum is “Empty No Teeth”. Its title already influencing an image in your mind. But the reveal isn’t something grotesque but beautiful as it reflects on parenthood and infancy. Growth working as a monitor of time. From no teeth to tumbling to walking on all fours. The deep and evocative nature of these songs may lead you to believe that This Is The Kit choose intimacy over thrilling performances. But this isn’t true.
“Two Pence Piece” is jazzy with a nice percussive backbone that invites its audience to clap along. It’s somewhat strange since the song seems to be about a particularly rough fight between a couple. “By My Demon Eye” possesses the strangest chorus you’ll ever hear that won’t make a lick of sense to read: “Tako takoti o takoti sman yamba takoti.” Trust me; Stables makes it sound catchier than “The Name Game”. And considering the difficulty for her to do so should clue you in to how good Moonshine Freeze is.