This is What Happens – The Reign of Kindo

This afternoon I plugged in my headphones during my lunch hour, shut out the rest of the world and immersed myself in the world of New York indie rock five piece ‘The Reign of Kindo’ with their album ‘This Is What Happens’.

 

The album opens with a skittering and pacy piece entitled ‘Thrill of the Fall’, which achieves the difficult feat of being written in an irregular 7/8 time signature, whilst still sounding natural and not over contrived. This theme continues more subtly through the album, with the band obviously fond of using time signatures that are none too common in the world of modern popular music.

The more frantic rhythm section of the first two tracks is toned right down in the beautiful ‘Symptom of a Stumbling’, in which the subtle string arrangement compliments the piece wonderfully, however I do feel the track didn’t quite reach the epic heights that it seemingly promised in contrast to the sombre lows that it expertly delivered.

The band tinkers with these more stripped back tracks throughout the album, with further tracks ‘Flowers by the Moon’ and ‘City Lights & Traffic Sounds’ adopting a similar style and perhaps achieving a greater level of emotional balance, without ever quite obtaining the depth of soul and beauty that ‘Symptom’ achieves.

The vocals of Joe Secchiaroli, most noticeably his haunting falsetto, really show their strength in the track ‘Bullets in the Air’, which also provides a fine example of the high level of musicianship of the entire band. This group are clearly a very talented ensemble, especially the pianist Kelly Sciandra (now sadly no longer with the group), who’s skills are put to very good use in the tracks ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’, which sounds like a wonderful collision of Carlos Santana and Herbie Hancock, and the more sombre ‘Comfort of the Orchestration’, which really peaks with a section of the track in which the music is pulled back to a simple arrangement, complimented by a wonderfully orchestrated string backing.
The album ends with the tracks ‘Soon it Shall Be’, a truly heartfelt love song that is full of longing, yet manages to avoid being overly cheesy, and ‘Psalm’, a track that sums up the overall feel of the album beautifully, with its hurried rhythm section and soaring vocal lines building and building, before dropping to a stripped back core of sparse arrangements and subtle, pensive vocals.The most commercial tracks on the album seem to be ‘Nightingale’, one of the most complete tracks on the album with a more standard metre and structure, ‘Blistered Hands’ which sparingly employs a female backing singer to harmonise and accentuate Secchiaroli’s heartfelt lead vocal, and ‘Battling the Years’, a funky little effort that melds a solid, funky groove with a melancholy vocal and piano combination and slips effortlessly between groovy and mournful.

Overall this album is a fabulous effort, and it’s very refreshing to hear such an accomplished group of musicians in an indie rock band, considering the current glut of bands that have seemingly embarked on a music career with nothing but a Squier Strat and an Oasis tab book. Key to the unique quality of the music is the jazz influence of the pianist, who adds a level of depth and versatility to the group that really holds their head above the crowd. Unfortunately their rather more complex and challenging compositional style is also the thing that is most likely to hold them back from the true mainstream success that they probably deserve to have, as the music is not particularly radio friendly, and shows no real evidence of catchy choruses or riffs that stick with you for hours after the album has finished. Apart from this, the glorious array of sounds that transition between the funky and jazzy, the melancholy and the thoughtful, alongside the more subtle elements of sparse harmonies and beautiful string arrangements, provide an album that is held together with the distinctly sombre overtone of the lyrics and lead vocal. If ‘This is What Happens’ is a sign of things to come from ‘The Reign of Kindo’, then they certainly are a band to watch out for in the coming years.

‘This is What Happens’ is the second full length release by US band ‘The Reign of Kindo’, and was released on the Candyrat Records label.

 

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About Steve Hancock

Steve is the host of the Cosmic Fragments radio show, he is also the creator and main contributor to the Cosmic Fragments website. On the side, he is also a failing musician, dog owner and shabby boyfriend, he does all of this while maintaining a full time job that provides little financial reward.