Headlights‘ Kill Them With Kindness comes with incredible hype. So, what everyone wishes to know is whether or not the album lives up to said hype. When it comes down to the answer, it all depends on the individual and their expectations of the band, their personal musical preferences, and their particular mood at the time of their first listen… second listen, third listen, etc.
As I listened to Kill Them With Kindness for the first time, I read three reviews with the resulting outcomes: two average and one poor. One reviewer was disappointed as the hype left him with unobtainable expectations. The average reviews the album received had somewhat similar results, but not to the extent of ridiculing the album as a whole. Disappointing, as you’ll soon read.
What triggered this review of Kill Them With Kindness was a mix between impulse (I’m known for impulse when it comes to writing about music) and the intro seconds to the first two tracks. The album begins with “Your Old Street”, a song that begins with a string quartet before cutting out to let Erin Fein take over with her sweet vocals. This orchestrated pop song is a bit different from the rest of the album, but finds a fitting home as the first track. Following the extreme high point of “Your Old Street” is “TV”. With less orchestration and heavier emphasis on keys, it reins at the forefront of the album’s catchy tunes seconded closely by “Lullabies”.
Tristan Wraight and Brett Sanderson round out the group, accompanying Fein selectively on vocals and developing a sound both mature and well-rounded — a nice feat for a debut album. “Songy Darko” includes a sombre, chamber-like organ and potentially a glokenshpiel. Many songs, like “Owl Eyes”, start out quietly and build throughout to explosive endings. “Lions” and “Words Make You Tired” do not follow that mold. They both start strong and loud and continue as so to the end. “I Love, You Laugh” closes the album on a soft note; a fitting end for a great album.
Throughout Kill Them With Kindness, Headlights succeed in not only living up to the hype, but generating more hype for their future releases. It will be interesting to see what route Headlights take for their sophomore release. For now, all I can say is: I love this album! It may even warrant a top ten entry in the best of 2006…
This review was originally published September 28, 2006 on the old version of FensePost.
Polyvinyl Records [CD, 2006]
1. Your Old Street
3. Put Us Back Together Right
4. Pity City
5. Songy Darko
6. Owl Eyes
7. The Midwest Is The Best
10. Struggle With Numbers
11. Words Make You Tired
13. Signs Point To Yes (But Outlook Not Too Good)
14. I Love, You Laugh