Strings dance through our speakers with a pendulous strut in the sonic noir that is “Your Friends.” With a spike of treble, they assault us with a harshness that is broken up by a somewhat robotic beat in “Dotted Lines.” “Goodbye” swings with a rollicking folk rhythm, and though it flirts with indulgent ambient tones, it manages to squeeze a little bit of luster out of its shapeless structure. Marred in underlying chaos, “Waiting” is as hypnotic in its light harmonies as it is supple in size. “Unknown,” while being as avant-garde a song as Kingdom of Birds has ever recorded, tries desperately to integrate a poppy hook into its menacing bluster, and in many ways, it encapsulates the spirit behind the group’s latest (and possibly strangest) release, Glitz.
Glitz sports a rather grainy production quality when juxtaposed with similarly designed fodder from the mainstream, but the substance of its songs is actually pretty smart and provocative when we take a closer look. On the surface, “Dotted Lines” and “Unknown” are too raucous for indie rock and too spindly to appeal to a more rebellious punk crowd, but you could make the argument that they’re not exactly packaged to satisfy either of these groups. Beneath the rough exterior, there’s a pop sensibility here that, despite being incorporated in a questionable manner, is a more exciting look for the band than what they were previously rocking (while also being much more experimental as well).
They’re still growing into their sound, but there’s no debating that Glitz is a step in the right direction for Kingdom of Birds. When we dig through the layers of noise, the post-punk inspired gloss and willfully enigmatic lyrics, I think we find a band that is finally beginning to hash out the best elements in their style and harness them in the songwriting process. If they build on the template that’s being presented to us in Glitz, I think that Kingdom of Birds will not only start to see more success outside of their own scene, but furthermore, they’ll produce the music that they’re undeniably capable of creating.