Release Date: October 21, 2014
Studio: Public Hi-Fi Studios
Genre: Indie/Alternative/Pop Rock
For Fans of: Sonic Youth, Stereo Lab, The National, Say Hi, Radiohead, The xx, Broken Social Scene, Ms. John Soda, Yo la Tengo, Phoenix, Death Cab for Cutie, Rush
As freeing as pop music has the potential to be, one cannot number the bands that merely want to slip into a cookie-cutter vibe when writing their music, so as to please the masses. The quartet known as Boy + Kite has the courage to see beyond that, and take action accordingly. The group has chiseled out their own brand of dream-like, independent rock, and it is taking them places.
In tandem with originality, Boy + Kite happens to boast one of the most unique formation stories: the two original members met in a hot tub. From there, they began writing songs almost immediately and recorded their first tracks in the fall of 2009.
Boy + Kite released their debut full length in the summer of 2011, which effectively propelled them toward larger opportunities for success. Lead vocalist Darvin Jones and guitarist Beth Puorro promptly teamed up with bassist Giuseppe Ponti and drummer Marc Henry, and with a rounded-out band, Boy + Kite released their We Can Go Anywhere We Want EP in 2013.
The band has been privileged to climb into the Top 10 Charts on KUT 90.5 in Austin, Texas and are ceaselessly pumping out more of their signature indie pop paeans. Boy + Kite has performed amongst the ranks of The Toadies, Ume and Quiet Company, and based on their history, are letting nothing stop them.
“Either Way” kicks off Boy + Kite’s latest musical manifestation, Blueprint. Vocalists Jones and Puorro utilize a swaying croon with their lines, giving off a slightly nostalgic effect that facilitates childlike musing. Further into the song, the vocalists sing just a hair above a whisper, adding tension to Boy + Kite’s already engrossing sound.
Boy + Kite mix in fascinating pockets of space and silence into their songs, heightening the level of mystique that their sound holds. On “Either Way,” there is not tons of guitar work other than solid chugging patterns that permit the ruminative mood of the song to take full form. Bassist Ponti fills out more on this track than the listener might realize at first go, exhibiting perfectly that the band can be original on their own terms.
Second of three tracks “Turned Sideways” is the standout track on Blueprint. After drummer Henry opens the song up with a syncopated beat, the remaining instruments drop in one by one and paint a sonic canvas delicately arranged with a catchy guitar melody. Jones and Puorro form a duo again with their vocal lines, a pairing that is incredibly smooth and adds another textured layer to the band’s agreeable sound. “Turned Sideways” fades out with a lingering, space-like outro – the icing on the cake that is Boy + Kite.
One of the only critiques of Boy + Kite’s efforts is that drummer Henry’s execution occasionally lags. His fills are logical and complimentary, and the tone of his kit is ideal for Boy + Kite’s sound, but his timing in some measures is off to the point that it nags the listener. This leaves room for the band to tighten up rhythmically, but it does not ruin the experience of Blueprint.
On “Touching the Sun,” Boy + Kite ends with a bang. This track is the most brisk, high-energy track on Blueprint. The band has a noticeable knack and propensity for meshing primarily morose, despondent vocal lines with the equivalent of a technicolor aural tapestry. Boy + Kite’s variety of sound favors that of a genuine rock spirit, and this fully shines through on “Touching the Sun.” The organic flair provided by tambourine and shaker makes listening to Boy + Kite a refreshingly accessible experience.
Blueprint is a quick run, but stands on its own as a significant achievement for Boy + Kite. The band looks to be soaring to new heights with a work ethic that is stronger than ever before. Boy + Kite is available for pop-up weddings through their website, and the band is slowly but surely moving toward playing across the U.S. Blueprint will release on October 21, 2014, and is available for preorder through their Bandcamp, found below.
Underground Examinations is a series of Independent Music Reviews with the intention of giving new music a fair and appropriate opportunity to be enjoyed.
Review by Brad Johnson