Gearing up for Kingswood

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Music

Melburnian indie rock outfit Kingswood will release their debut album, Microscopic Wars’ a month out before hitting the Cambridge Hotel for their 18th of September show.

With their signature rock swagger, DIY spirit and contagious energy, Kingswood have played over one hundred shows in the past year, equally at home on the main stage for Splendour in the Grass or the Big Day Out, as they are playing for the Defense Forces in Afghanistan, or obliterating small clubs and pubs across Australia.

“I don’t aim to write for a specific sound, but when I’m writing I try to imagine the sound,” guitarist Alex says. “I want it to always be varied. When we workshop stuff, we work on the raw materials, the foundations. Then someone will do something – like Ferg will be singing phonetically, or the guitar will accidently hit something wrong – and you hear a weird harmonic or something becomes distorted and it’s great. That’s what music is about. It’s a collision of these energies, where these miraculous things happen and you just know that’s what it should be.”

It was this freewheeling spirit, boldness and quest for greatness that saw the band take the drafted record to Nashville to work with Vance Powell at the world renowned Blackbird Studio. Powell, the Grammy Award winning purveyor of obscure and eclectic rock and soul rarities – who has worked with the likes of Jack White, Jeff the Brotherhood and Arctic Monkeys – finished the final cuts live to tape. In the heart of ‘Music City’ Tennessee, the band finished the recording and mixing in Vance’s studio Sputnik Sound, which Alex describes fondly as ‘Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of Musical Instruments’. Complimenting the production, mastering was completed in Nashville by the legendary Richard Dodd, consigliore and chief engineer for the likes of Rick Rubin and an intimidating resume of his own.

From the moody opening promise of ‘All Too Much’ to the whistling fade-out on ‘Chronos’, ‘Microscopic Wars’ could be the soundtrack to one hell of a movie. Going in any and all directions as the band see’s fit, the album weaves influences as far and wide as the twang of surf guitars, lilting string arrangements, dusty 60’s blues records, stadium rock to the unnamable instruments found in Blackbird’s clandestine studios. Any other band would have stuck to a particular sound rather than fuse their inspirations, but in Kingswood’s talented hands, the diversity becomes iconic.

‘Ohio’ draws you in with Midwestern drawl, as ‘Sucker Punch’ rains down its furious drumbeats, while ‘Tremor’ weaves a fairground jingle with powerful of jangling pianos, fuzz bass and slide guitar. Rumbling drums juxtapose with melancholic refrains on ballad ‘Eye of the Storm’ before the guitar climaxes to a dizzying crescendo, while the reverb-soaked Moog synth lines entwine with Alex’s vocals on the simmering soul rock number ‘ICFTYDLM’. While there is much of ‘Microscopic Wars’ that conflicts and contrasts, the album in underpinned by its ingenious narrative twists that make it equally able to soundtrack stunt-car-slasher flicks and tender scenes of star crossed-love.

The new album from Kingswood will hit stores on August 22.

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