Uncaged white noise blindsides us with its atonal feedback. A bleak hum echoes against the grind of a growing percussive track. Instantly, we’ve got a bassline. The tempo of the drums and the bass gives off an urgency that is both frustratingly inefficient and startlingly engaging at the same time. In “Unknown,” as well as the four songs that accompany it on Kingdom of Birds’ new EP Glitz, discord and decadence come to us in equal doses, but yield unequal results for the band dishing it out. While the effervescent “Goodbye” and stoic “Your Friends” stand out as two of the sharper tracks here, “Unknown” and the violent “Dotted Lines” seem just a tad too lofty for this latest release.
The mix that Kingdom of Birds use in Glitz is well-defined, and though it’s a bit too minimalistic for my taste in “Unknown,” I wouldn’t say that it strips all of the color away from the music in “Your Friends” and “Goodbye.” “Waiting” is a really vibrant, textured track that is stylized much in the way that “Dotted Lines” is, but the finish is so much more robust in the latter than it is in the former. Glitz is dominated by its eccentricities, but to be fair, this is what a lot of listeners have come to expect out of this young band.
Kingdom of Birds get aggressive with us in the rhythm of “Waiting,” “Goodbye” and “Dotted Lines,” while they take a decidedly more relaxed approach to “Your Friends” and “Unknown,” but there isn’t much interruption in the fluidity of the tracklist when we listen to the songs in the order that they were arranged for us here. I think that the scattered vibe I get from this EP has more to do with the band still finding their groove amidst their diverse group of influences than it does anything else. They’ve got the chops – at this point, it’s just about packaging the content the right way.
It’s not the best material that they’ve submitted to date, but Glitz is nevertheless a worthwhile listen for fans who could go for indie rock melodies with an abrasive edginess every now and again. In the three years that have passed since the release of their debut album Pretty, Kingdom of Birds have grown into quite an interesting listen (especially relative to the rest of their scene), and while they’ve still got some room for improvement, their latest stuff makes for a stimulating spring soundtrack just the same.