Album Review: Kestrels – Kestrels

Halifax noise-pop power trio Kestrels return with their new self-titled LP to be released worldwide September 30, 2016 via Hamilton, Ontario’s fabled Sonic Unyon label. Regrouping after the band lost key boutique, modded, and vintage equipment from a van and gear theft, they’ve created a record that’s right in our musical sweet spot – combining fuzzy, noisy guitars with catchy melodies. It fits nicely into Sonic Unyon’s past and present catalog.

The album was two years in the making, they recorded the rhythm tracks in downtown Toronto’s Dream House Studio by Alex Bonenfant (METZ, Crystal Castles), with vocal sessions and guitar tracking taking place in vocalist/guitarist Chad Peck’s gear sanctuary/home studio in rural Nova Scotia. The band tapped lauded producer Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Sunny Day Real Estate) to mix the record in his LA based Seagrass Studio in the spring of 2015. Ringo Deathstarr’s Elliott Frazier and Alex Gehring also make cameo guitar and vocal appearances, solidifying a friendship that began with a Canadian tour in 2012.

The end result is by far their most accomplished recording to date. Drummer Paul Brown provides rhythm dynamics that can turn from tightly wound to borderline unhinged on a dime, Devin Peck covers unprecedented sonic ground with his bass, and Peck provides soft focus vocals backed by alternately tuned Fender Jazzmasters pushed through all manner of obscure Japanese fuzz pedals and coveted 80s rackmount processors.

This is a strong record – it kicks off with No Alternative’s punchy drums and relentless guitar textures – take a listen below. Throughout the album, they never let up with songs like Are ¥ou Alone? and Wide Eyes. The album gives you a breather with the slower paced Neko, but it still chugs along with a rhythm that makes you want to tap your toe coupled with beautiful layered vocals. The 1:58 long Waiting kicks back into full speed mode with some catchy fuzzed-out guitars and walls of noise – very nice indeed. You should check out ‘Kestrels’ especially if you’re a fan of My Bloody Valentine, Sianspheric, or early Treble Charger.

 

For more information on Kestrels, visit kestrels.ca.