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Review: Racing Kites

Genres are funny little categories. As groups build off genres from the past to attempt a synthesis of what grounds them and yet elevate to an avant-garde sound, there is this explosion of chaotic genre intermixing, to the point when genres might be deconstructed all together and new cataloguing labels will be necessary. However, this is not necessary with Racking Kites, and that’s exactly why I dig this five-person band based out of New Jersey.

Alex (vocals), Preston (bass), Matt (guitar/vocals), another Matt (guitar), and Rick (drums) follow in the pop-rock, maybe a hint of post-punk tradition. While they exemplify this tradition, they are far from being a mere example. Alex and Matt’s vocals are cuttingly lucid and harmonize in such a way that neither cancels out the other. Rick perfects the on-and-off drumming that keeps each song wonderfully off balanced, infusing each song with spontaneity and good-for-dancing-pop. While there is not too much creativity in the guitars, it is precisely this that keeps each song together in a way that is recognizably pop-rock. And, quite frankly, pop-rock is the sort of music that just makes you feel good, no matter how crappy your day was. While this sort of music is not necessarily a default of an old geezer like myself, I sure as heck would love to be front in center at a live show. It’s a dang shame these guys don’t have more publicity…it actually leaves me dumbfounded that I just got my hands on such quality music.

That all said, let me conclude by admitting to how much I admire the heck out of these guys on a personal level. While they are based out of New Jersey, they also represent Delaware and Pennsylvania, commuting to a central place to practice together. That might be feasible for a sold-out major label group, but to be an indie-group and be this dedicated materializes their deep seated drive to create music that they believe in. I kind of wish more people in my generation were this committed in life. Racing Kites not only remind us of how consistently enjoyable that stable pop-rock sound is, but also inspires us to pursue our dreams at any cost, no matter how much it might drain our holey jean pockets.