Kilkenny band Kingston‘s second EP ‘Chapter From A Book’ comes across like a ska’d up Pavement draped with garlands of psychedelic flowers. It’s an unlikely fusion which ought to not fully work, sort of like mint flavoured cola. If Kingston had focused on being a ska band or simply a garage rock band they’d sound perfectly acceptable but the mix of the ska elements with a lo-fi garage rock sound gives them a clear identity. It could sound gimmicky but they’ve got the balance just right, never leaning too far to one side.
In today’s era of streaming it’s easy to dismiss music if it doesn’t capture your attention straight away but Kingston’s the unusual set up means from the first song Stare Through It, you’re intrigued to hear it out. Stare Through It opens with a blast of brass instruments which instantly gives way to choppy guitar riffs and an undulating song that keeps you guessing where it is going. It only lacks a truly memorable chorus to really define itself.
Singer Stephen O’Connor has a loquacious tone, effortlessly engaging in a Steven Malkmus kind of way. Across the EP O’Connor lyrically touches on themes like not fitting in such as “No other species is out of touch/we’re all wasters, we waste so much/ I got no normal friends” on Eating Flowers. It may seem like standard introspective indie content, but the trumpet and sax lifts the songs to an upbeat feel good tone rather than let the lyrics wallow in mire.
Elsewhere Kingston show their versatility on Hazey Brain where they jump from melancholy to blessed out psychedelic from languid trippy indie choruses, to verses with mournful brass instrumentation. It’s a beguiling song that slowly changes shape and it’s a trick they repeat but in reverse on The Duke. The title track Chapter From A Book cranks up the volume with a growling riff that is backed with bursts of jubilant brass instruments.
The result is far better than could have been anticipated. The ‘Chapter From A Book’ EP is a clear jump in quality from Kingston’s promising self titled EP from 2013. The song writing is stronger, less predictable and also keeps you coming back for more.