KINS (SYNapproved) – Workers Club, 24th of June

It’s Friday night and the Worker’s Club in Fitzroy is packed to the rafters. The music is flowing over me in waves and the crowd is bobbing heads. I’m wondering how old the drummer is and how the hell he’s coming up with beats like THAT on a drum kit as simple as THAT.The band by the way is KINS, and they’re launching their debut mini LP, Dancing Back And Forth, Covered In Whipped Cream at this month’s SYNapproved. But let’s start at the beginning. Our first support for the night is the atmospheric electronica guru, The Townhouses, aka Leigh Hannah. I think there should be a ban on using plural in a band name when it’s a solo project. However that is the only criticism I have of this insightful musician. Utilising not only drum machines and samplers, but also the outrageously conventional electric guitar, he created complex songs that were both soothing and exciting. The effects on the vocals converted his hums to hymn like chants, blending perfectly with the overall sound. Carefully crafted electronica with an uplifting effect. Following the delicate opening were Howl At The Moon, a well glued together four piece. Lead singer Katie Scott was the driving force, with strong lyrics and a powerful presence, as well as a versatile voice that was indeed a pleasure to listen to. Her performance created the mood for each song, usually on the dark side, but always captivating. This is what I imagine a young PJ Harvey would’ve been like.  Guitarist Matt Storey also stood out for me for making a lead guitar sound as unconventional as possible. Combining unusual riffs and unique pedal settings, he knew exactly what sound he wanted out of his instrument and how to get it. Overall, I was glad Howl At The Moon played a longer set. Launching a debut LP (be it mini or full length) is a big occasion in a band’s life. Any expectations anyone may have had of KINS on this night, they lived up to it.  Entering as a confident unit, they launched into a strong set that captured the crowd from the start. While front man and primary songwriter Thomas Savage was centre stage and centre of attention, all four members constituted to the overall sound being as complete as it was. Jacky Collyer on the keys provided a sense of atmospheric depth while Kieran Savage came up with bass lines that were both complex, but more importantly, perfectly suited to the songs. Drummer Simon Lam deserves a special mention; his beats were like clockwork in the background to provide the backbone to the songs. Always impeccable with timing, his drumsticks got a little blurry during the final song with a complicated beat involving cowbells. That’s right, cowbells. And while I doubt anyone else saw the resemblance, his looks reminded me of a young Jimmy Page, to a point where it was distracting me considerably. Then again, it was quite dark. Back to the point. KINS re-created their recorded sound with a firm conviction and presence. In fact I still don’t see why the band decided to call their album a ‘mini-LP’; to me it isn’t too short or lacking in any way. In fact playing such a sweet gig in support of it confirms what I already knew; KINS have well and truly entered the Australian music scene. I’m looking forward to the first ‘full length’ LP and hope it’s not too far away.- Andy Szollosi

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