‘Moonshine Freeze’ offers a soundscape of soft, alternative folk in which tracks swing from one to another in a dreamlike state, telling folkloric stories like a lullaby. This Is The Kit’s fourth offering follows last year’s ‘Bashed Out’ and the band appear even more comfortable in the unique folky space in which they inhabit.
Kate Stables is at the heart of the musical collective, this time surrounding herself with a tight knit band and even tighter producer, John Parish — of PJ Harvey production fame. You get the vibe that the band have spent some real time together in their Bristol-based studio, operating out of one big baggy jumper interweaved with myriad coloured cloth and five sets of arm holes, such is their togetherness in sound.
‘Moonshine Freeze’ is named after a clapping song from Stable’s youth and there’s a real childlike and innocent quality to the rhythm of the songs, with repeated chanted lyrics and soothing drums. The first single of the same name presents a beguiling, hypnotic-like approach to sound, with repetitive lyrics and calming melodies. There’s a charming strangeness to Stables’ voice and parts of the album where she gets real space to showcase the purity and subtlety of her tones like on ‘Solid Grease’.
There’s a dark and mysterious undertone to the album, with witchy lyricism weaved throughout. Paradoxical themes are etched into the record, such as “we are both not enough and too much… love is not enough” on the nostalgic sounding ‘Demon Eye’. Paradigms like this present a theme that’s morose, yet hopeful.
The instruments used are given licence to stand alone, whether that be a plucked banjo or the wistful sound of a strummed guitar. There is playfulness within the rhythm of tracks like ‘Hotter Colder’, where although at first glance it may seem of the typical This is The Kit’s happy alt-folk sound, it doesn’t always head in the sonic direction that’s expected. There’s often a surprise amongst the kooky lyrics, making it pleasingly disjointed.
‘Moonshine Freeze’ feels like a banjo-enthused exorcism of sorts for Stables from the blurred, open-mouthed image on the cover to references to freedom and escape within the lyrics. The question begs what it is she is escaping from and where she will head to next. Stables describes her song writing process as an “untangling”, and there seems to be an impression of deep thought and introversion throughout.
This is an album that deserves big headphones and large sweeping views of grey coastal days. With themes of folklore and oracles, This is The Kit provide the mysterious and whispering antidote to a world that can sometimes feel too obvious and loud.
Words: Hana Barten
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