Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick hits: Kidneythieves

February 18, 2011

I would be interested to hear what a Kidneythieves live set sounds like. Even though their modern rock draws liberally off industrial rhythms and nu-metal guitar tone, the arrangements and production serve the vocal melodies first and foremost. Which sound would get top billing in a live set? Is it still a rock song if the pop melody is the point? Does it really matter?

Actually, yes. Because as a set of rock songs, this feels pretty tepid, in that the heaviest hitting parts of the sound are turned down to make sure that the vocals cut through effectively. But as a set of really aggressive pop songs, this album works nicely. Free Dominguez’s mid-range female vocals contrast neatly with the distorted backdrop, making her voice stand out.

The songs here are all well engineered; the drums and guitars are crisp and clear (even when they’re mega-distorted). Dominguez’s voice is also commendably recorded; there’s no knocking any performance and/or recording method here. But it really comes down to this: Did you like Evanescence? Are you excited about the idea a muscled-up version of that sound? If so, you should get Tryptofanatic right here. If not, there’s other stuff to check out.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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