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Kites - Peace Trials

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Artist: Kites

Album: Peace Trials

Label: Load

Review date: Jan. 19, 2006

Half of the time, Christopher Forgues’ raft of homemade electronic gadgets and budget-bank circuit boards produce some mighty fierce skin-scalding lava chunks. His tortuous collages of pulverising noise and fist-fucking vocals give a headlock scare worthy of Wolf Eyes, Hair Police and a host of other losers. But his particular breed of sonic terror possesses a little more focus than that of his brethren. A vague left-wing agenda can be traced amongst the spat out phrases during tracks like “Flag Torn Apart” and “Something about America,” but much of the message remains too vague to discern. An examination of the inlay’s lyric sheet (“Thanks god for the car, so a weak body can see the nation, hateful nation” and “Across the burning sand, gun turrets revolve. It’s hard being a man”) shows Kites playing their cards close to their bullet-proof vest. Are Kites trying to bring down the Bush administration or are they simply targeting some of Western civilization’s sacred cows? Listeners are obliged to fill in the gaps themselves to produce their own manifesto.

Apart from the ambiguous polemics Peace Trials showcases another facet of Forgues’ diseased imagination. Interspersed between the roar and buzz of machines at war with themselves are a clutch of flesh, blood and bone tracks which tickle the same freaky folk fancy as Barnes’ Amps for Christ. Although lacking AFC’s unique blend of the authentically strange and genuine soulfulness, these songs provide a welcome respite to the chaos that surrounds them. Most successful of these circus hymn miniatures is the closing title track, featuring Erin Rosenthal of Providence psych-art wizards Urdog. Rosenthal’s tender voice harmonizes beautifully with Forgues’ over a simple six-string refrain to create a beautiful end to a continually surprising body of work.

By Spencer Grady

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