By Bryan Cipolla
It’s a familiar story: childhood friends grow up together in a small town and begin creating music. Trumansburg, New York’s Kites In Space kept their childhood friendship alive and didn’t fight their shifting musical tastes as their early high school influences fell to the background. The result was their extremely strong and diversified self-titled indie rock album.
The band took these raw materials into band member Chris Ploss’ empty house during the summer of ’08 to record Kites In Space’s self-titled debut: a passionate, melody-driven, indie-folk rock album with dashes of synth/prog elements.
Album opener “Walk It Off” sets the tone immediately with an upbeat, dance-y rhythm. Echoing vocals encourage the listener to sing along while handclaps and piano keep the beat steady. The song’s stripped down ending appropriately leads into the more melancholy “Ghost In The Radio.”
The album shifts with the track, “Cords Wrapped Too Tight,” showcasing the vocals of Katelyn Glanton. A plodding, stomp-clap rhythm drives the track, incorporating chimes and guitar for an airy, haunting, feel.
“Don’t Own the Drugs” is a standout track. The lyrics, written by band member Steve Burton, epitomize a sense of youth, with exuberant imagery culminating in the mantra, “We turn our heads off/ And put our pistols to the sky!”
According to vocalist Ben Bartishevich, the term simply means good times all around.
The following track, “Manifest Destiny,” begins with droning, spacious synth tones that are accompanied by quick, steady drumming. Monotone vocals bitterly singing of America’s insatiable desire for a manifest destiny beyond that of our conquest of the West.
“Eulogy” is a bitter, reflexive track incorporating an organ, apt for the subject matter dealing with the absurdity in the way some people cope with lost loved ones.
“Born Out Of The Hustle” comes full-circle, closing the album out with a solid rock song incorporating electric and acoustic guitar, layered vocals, and a microKORG.
The album is a motley mix of songs, many of which started being written by separate member of the band, only to find cohesion in the production of the album. The loftiness of the empty house that it was recorded in can be felt, giving the diversified songs a unifying element.
Their album can be found for free at both kitesinspace.com and sixteensixteen.com.