Following bands and artists I admire on Instagram has paid off yet again, as I have become aware that one of my favorite bands, The Kickback, has been working on new music. They haven’t released a record since 2017’s “Weddings and Funerals,” and their last release was the single “RingTan21” in 2018.
The Kickback’s first record, “Sorry All Over the Place,” has some great indie rock songs like “Sting’s Teacher Years” and “Please Hurt,” but the highlight has to be “White Lodge.”
“White Lodge” transcends genre. It has a light, feathery chord progression that slowly builds into a cathartic, dual-guitar “chorus,” although the song is so free of structure that titles don’t do the part justice, since the listener never hears it again. The track descends into a full-band jam with synthesizers, a marching drum beat and the guitarists trading riffs. This jam gives the listener just enough time to settle into the atmosphere until the song explodes again in the final act.
It’s one of my favorite pieces of music, and the live version seems to be even better than the original. I highly, highly recommend the YouTube video “The Kickback – White Lodge (Live at Lincoln Hall)” because it puts on full display the amount of energy the band puts into their performances.
The tension in the jam part of the song is even more prevalent here as guitarist and front man Billy Yost turns to face guitarist Jonny Ifergan as they mirror each other’s riffs. The synthesizers are replaced by humming as Ifergan moves to center stage for a bit of a solo that leads into the cataclysm of an ending.
There’s something to be said for some of the catchiness of “Weddings and Funerals,” too. The second-to-last track, “Reptile Fund,” has a gem of a chorus in a bit of a departure from the traditional band lineup the Kickback had for their earlier releases. The lead melody here is a sort of keyboard arpeggio, and there is some simply strummed acoustic guitar throughout. It’s been exciting revisiting songs like “Latest Obsession,” the album closer, in anticipation of the music to come.
Yost has also been releasing lo-fi music under the name Billy Ghost, and I’m eager to hear how this will affect the Kickback’s music. I’m a big fan of lo-fi and I’m wondering how the band will incorporate that sort of relaxing aesthetic into their tense indie rock sound.
“Weddings and Funerals” was a departure from “Sorry All Over the Place,” and I imagine after almost a four-year hiatus the band will sound even more developed and emerge from their break with another batch of amazing songs.