Sunday, 23 August 2015

Review: Me and My Kites – Is It Real, Or Is It Made?

Experiential, optimistic, magical. Three words to describe the sound created by Me and My Kites.

When I first heard the groups debut, Like a Dream Back Then (2013), I felt it went some way to filling that Incredible String Band shaped hole in my life which began to appear after devouring their entire discography. A somewhat bold comparison, but when listening they are able to blend the perfect amount of the personal, philosophical and whimsical as the aforementioned (though perhaps somewhat more secular and less laden with eastern mysticism etc.) without it sounding, well… bad. Fortunately, with the Me and My Kites, this is never even close to the case. Each musician brings a charm and professionalism to the music.

Though a core group of six, Me and My Kites give an impression rather of an inviting community. With many accompanying musicians acknowledged here and on their debut. At the forefront of this are David Svedmyr and Lisa Isaksson who alternate or share vocal responsibilities.

Whereas the debut opener Back When I Came conjured dark shades of purples with its spiralling organs, backward guitar and nods to early Pink Floyd, Psychjuntan is made of brighter oranges, yellows and greens, though laced with melancholy.

“I always hope to get there; I’ll show you when we get there; I’m pretty sure we’ll stay here; I always hope to get there” suggests a search for more mystical realms.

Psychjuntan is the most overtly psychedelic of the tracks on this album, with nods to sixties hippy culture. Lyrical themes of the personal and of reference to the self, self-discovery and journeying through landscapes of the mind, and the pristine landscapes of Gaia, highlight a psychedelic angle throughout. Here it is the closing mantra “Let the long-time sun shine upon you; And the light within you guide you home” which conjures the most explicit reference (See also A Very Cellular Song for a tenuous Incredible String Band reference).

Say It’s Real has a much more 70s proggy folk sound. An unsurprising influence, as the band take their name from Me and My Kite, by 70s British prog band Fuschia (The band also recently recorded a version of Fuschia’s The Band with Tony Durant from the former  released on Fruits der Mer Records).

Eternally optimistic, flute and clapping accompany Lisa’s upbeat insistent “Say that it’s real”. In true communal spirit, the clappers (and in one case cooker) are acknowledged on the back of the album.

Porcelain has a similarly proggy vibe about it, though at times feels like it could be about to mirror the Beatles at their most optimistic and psychedelic. The story of a girl, living in her “dream like mind”, presumably looks something like the video the band created for the track.

Call De San Pedro begins with a more traditional folk instrumentation and balladry. In the same vein as Caravello Parallello from the debut, it follows the theme of travel, freedom and relaxation.

Happy, Then Crying, is a dizzying personal trip, sang by David. Hide Away/Tonight!/Turn With the Tide/Tilbaka Till Psychjuntan sung by David and Lisa seems to follow on from this. It leads from the melancholic though to the positive in a four part piece.

More epic and indulgent than the previous, in the final part of the track Tilbaka Till Psychjuntan the group return to the theme of Psychjuntan, this time however with greater instrumentation and impressionistic flourishes of harp, bass, vocal and mellotron. Though using the listeners mind as the canvas, in a similar vein the Impressionist painters, the world created here and throughout the album, acts as a social commentary only through its absence of explicit social commentary outside of the personal. Of the everyday stresses and pressures of a fast paced lifestyle, of globalisation and greed we hear nothing. Opting for lush pastures of colour, the group paint an idealistic picture of the world; though I suspect it may be a reality for the group when hidden away in the idyllic Swedish countryside.

In Narcissus there is a glimmer of paganistic reverie in its mythological lyricism. Though not by any explicit reference, I was reminded of the cosmogonical musings of Maypole, from the Wicker Man soundtrack. If said film were to be remade on a Swedish island, replacing bad harvest with years of bounty, then Me and My Kites could surely provide the perfect soundtrack.

Closer, Common Life ends the album with a lengthy 10 minute composition, slowly building up to an excellent jam, with multiple peaks and troughs, though ending on a more sombre note.

Through a combination of the groups sound and the albums accompanying imagery, it is difficult not to conjure up a picture of pristine landscapes.

Here on the album the band create a similar space for the listener. Free, from time, stress and pressure, if only for a brief moment. The album provides a pleasant place for consideration and consolidation.


No comments:

Post a Comment