Thirty seconds into the song “No Way Sit Back,” improvisational vocals soar over a surging connection between guitar, bass and drums, and an orchestral background, and in perhaps what must be record time for a record, When This Life Is Over already sounds like one of the best new releases coming out early in 2019.
Released last month on February 19, the new album comes as the much anticipated, new studio effort from indie-rockers And The Kids. The Brooklyn-Massachusetts based band have been making a steady impression upon the music scene since their inception only several years ago, but When This Life Is Over just might in short time vault them much bigger arena of significance. It was released on heavyweight record company Signature Sounds and has already been lauded by keen sources like NPR and Stereogum alike.
“No Way Sit Back,” and “Butterfinger,” song two, both enter a bit of benevolence. Lead vocals implore on the latter, “That’s why we sing loud, hoping we can drown it out.” But as the record proceeds, the band balances more and deadpan tones with the more hopeful ones at first, in a way that mirrors the own shifting tone of the actual music, and the result is a beautiful, two-sides-of-the-same-coin mix of sweetness and seriousness.
“Life is a bastard, it wants to kill you, don’t let go,” grapples “Champaigne Ladies” between what sounds like the welcome wisdom of a close friend and the sullen realism of an artist set against huge challenges and huge dreams. “Ladies” was the big single released by And The Kids in the lead up to the new album, and when it kicks off with its infectious, thumping bass and guitar riff, it feels like the record’s beating heart.
And yet, the musical abounds from front to end, making it tougher to pinpoint the most enjoyable part of the album. Even through its sharp lyrics, When This Life Over feels so good throughout. “2003” brings in some really great drumming, and “The Final Free,” the grungiest song on the record, even hums along with a kind of rosy, electrifying haze.
And this latter one hits a build up point by the end that hits so well. Actually much of the record does this, in repeatedly different ways, starting especially with the gorgeous changes in “Sit Back,” and “Butterfingers,” but also coming in “Religion,” and onward. Most of the tracks hit these very natural yet very gorgeous musical climaxes that sends the record over the edge again and again.
There’s probably something poetic about the title track, “When This Life is Over,” being the first to introduce an acoustic guitar that sticks around for a few tracks. “Special For Nothing” gets even more intricate and intriguing with it, and it’s an immense switch in the feel of the album—think something like Leonard Cohen writing a song for MGMT. “Religion” and the “Basically We Are Dead” pick the electric guitar back up and reprises the dreamy yet anthemic sound of the beginning, again with intricate, interweaving sections, and these also bring in a few more even cooler sounds.
When This Life Is Over is a powerful collection of new songs from And The Kids, and really shows the range capable from this dynamic group, as players but also as writers. The record sounds like a sense of artistry that the band is coming into and beginning to really discover for themselves. But, also considering their instrumental competence, all of this stuff probably has the potential to truly shine in the live setting as well. Those who have seen And The Kids performance may be well aware of this probability—the trio’s sense of passion and tenacity on stage no doubt amplify their songs. And with this record being a list of bangers, future shows be something to hear.
And The Kids are currently on tour in support of the new album, and this week and next week will be circling around their home territory of the northeast. Starting tonight at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, the trio will take to the staple Brooklyn spot of Baby’s All Right, and Sunday to The Spaceland Ballroom in Hamden, CT. Next week will see them tour through Boston and Northampton in Massachusetts, Portland and Bangor in Maine, Providence, Portsmouth, and Burlington.
For all the info and tickets to And The Kids, visit their site at https://www.andthekids.com