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Posted by on Jul 16, 2020 in CD Reviews |

Kidsmoke – A vision in the Dark

In the age of streaming and downloads there is an argument to say that as a format the album is redundant. The next time this topic comes up in conversation I’ll point them in the direction of “A Vision in the Dark” as an explanation of why the album is worth preserving.

Kidsmoke have been around for some considerable time releasing tracks as far back as 2013. To show how far they’ve come take a listen to the original release of ‘Higher’. What was fairly standard indie fayre is transformed into something very special indeed. It’s clear that over the past 5 years the band have honed and perfected their sound and with the help of producer Russ Hayes the recordings here are immaculate and a lesson in studio craft. It’s a relatively simple formula with a solid, unfussy rhythm section, perfectly considered lyrical lead guitar and all this is overlaid with the band’s finest attribute; the vocals of Lance Williams and Sophie Ballamy. Williams delivers one of the best vocal performances you will hear this year. His voice has a purity and expression that is rare and special. Add Sophie Ballamy’s vocal into the equation and you have a winning combination.

You get the sense that the band have mastered the art of the 3 minute indie pop single with opening tracks such as ‘Passenger’ and ‘Colourfield’. As likeable as they are it’s as the album progresses that their real depth and talent emerges. Aforesaid ‘Higher’ is a soaring beauty with an arrangement that a mid-1980s REM would be proud of.  “Rising Sun” co-produced by Bill Ryder-Jones is a fast paced roller coaster ride with some perfectly measured guitar work. The album closes with 2 stand out tracks “Little Easy” which is a superbly arranged ballad possessing a beguiling, lingering refrain. The final track “The Bluest You” is a song about depression with a soaring melody suggesting torment and suffering. It is sensational and deeply moving.

This album demonstrates that Kidsmoke have huge potential and given a chance to make a series of albums, alongside some decent recording budgets for additional musicians to add to their colour pallet this band will soar limitlessly. As a debut album “A Vision in the Dark” is very, very special indeed.