Welcome to The Kinison, another angry collection of post-hardcore, punk anarchists emerging from the California club scene. Formed in 1999 by three mates who were sick of the local music scene, they believed that they could make a difference, (sound familiar to anyone?) The band achieved recognition by touring the small clubs of the LA area, before sliding into some big festival slots.
The Kinison then finding some time to put something down, recorded an EP Mortgage Is Band, securing themselves a record deal with LaSalle/Atlantic. And let’s face it, there are worse companies you can be signed to. The Blink 182 boys are playing a large part in the promotion of What Are You Listening To? as they have brought The Kinison along for the European leg of their tour.
The whole of What Are You Listening To?, produced by Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lovstrom, was recorded in an unbelievable 15 days. And for those who don’t know, Henricsson and Lovstrom were the men behind the genre-defining The Shape Of Punk To Come by the late Refused.
On the first listen to the album straight through, there are sure signs of Henricsson and Lovstrom’s trademark workings behind the desk. The album has managed to capture what so many post-hardcore bands neglect to catch when they hit the studio – intensely crazed, live, raw energy. Without this, The Kinison album would have sounded more along the lines of Funeral For A Friend‘s dead-as-a-door-nail Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation, which has great music but no sign of blood, sweat and tears.
What Are You Listening To? has a listenable consistency, though the album’s stand-out tracks are scarce. One of these is The Farm & The Girls, securing attention from the word go. Then all is good until you reach track three, their first single You’ll Never Guess Who Died, which is nothing more than irritating as soon as it hits the chorus. Thankfully this is the only big complaint about this album.
Cruising on through the album the tracks stay steady until track nine, Wild & Crazy Kids, where you hear The Kinison sounding more like At The Drive-In or The Mars Volta with their chaotic vocals in a beautiful mess of instruments. Finally, make sure to catch the secret song just after track 11 showing that when the album came to the final cut, the group must have taken to the idea of saving the best for last.
All in all, What Are You Listening To? will secure The Kinison with a place in their Atlantic’s good books for the time being, and hopefully their non-stop touring ethic will prove as useful to The Kinison as it did for such bands as At The Drive-In.