Two and a quarter years after my last UK gig and I’m back in Manchester and at the same venue as for that one. The ears are ringing again and I remember what it’s like to be in a public room with other people and without a piece of blue cloth hanging between my ears. Heaven.
But my sacrifice is nothing compared to that of Kindsight who have – get this – driven here from Copenhagen; a journey that took 24 hours. In fact, getting here at all must be difficult for Nordic bands. Travel restrictions may have been relaxed but now they have to contend with hefty administrative changes and associated costs post-Brexit. It’s no surprise that they are one of very few Nordic bands making the journey here for now and we should be grateful that they did.
I’ve reviewed a couple of Kindsight singles which were then tracks on their debut album ‘Swedish Punk’ and had some difficulty pigeon-holing their style, likening them to all manner of bands.
They line up as a foursome with two guitars, bass and drums and those guitars act as dual rhythm guitars while principal singer Nina (who was wearing what looked like a Manchester City shirt from the 1970s) and occasional vocalist Søren also share lead guitar roles. They’re all technically accomplished and the complex interplay between Anders’ bass and Johannes’ percussion in particular was a joy to behold.
Their sound can be fuzzy and shoe-gazy at times but they equally know how to crank up the volume and rock. There was a huge contrast between ‘Panic Juice’ for example, which is the sort of lullaby which might be sung to old folk in a retirement home after their afternoon tea, and closing song ‘Trampoline to me’ which starts off in a similar manner but then progresses into an almighty dense instrumental jam.
My personal favourite of the nine-song set (which included a hitherto unreleased one, ‘Love You Baby All The Time),’ was ‘Hi Life’, one born I guess of the pandemic as the singer longs for release from an apartment block to the backdrop of an absorbing piece of math rock which morphs, courtesy of a crazy, audacious time signature change into the catchiest chorus you’ll hear this year.
“Don’t you touch your life it’s not your own, not your own”, laments Nina, in her unique vocal, which suggests the diverse likes of Hope Sandoval and Haley Shea but ultimately channels no-one. A song that would be recognised, if not exactly appreciated, in the apartment blocks of Shanghai right now.
It’s one that really should be pounding the UK radio airwaves and I have a strong feeling that if they could replicate melody lines like that more often they would make a name for themselves that much quicker still.
Kindsight continue their tour in Bristol at the Crofters Rights tonight (Friday 13th!!) before moving on to London (15th) at the Cavendish Arms.
Then they have another 24 hour drive home. I hope this exploratory journey was a good experience for them and I’m sure that when they come back the venues will be bigger. Word soon gets around.
Kudos by the way to the people who run The Peer Hat, who do their own booking and promotion, I believe. They know their stuff.
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