Arriving on 5th October 2018 as the eagerly awaited follow-up to their benchmark album, 2016’s ‘Be Strong Troop On’, the dynamic duo of Richard & Robert Harrison make their return and clearly mean business.
A fusion of molten rock wig-outs, frenzied acoustica, riled-up reggae, and bastardised blues; ‘Kin’ is one hissing cauldron brimful of budding ideas, conscientious lyricism and impressive instrumentation.
Making their name across Europe as a band with a fired-up live show that rings out into the night air like a 21 gun salute at the helm of just two pairs of hands, ‘Kin’ sees the tenacious jamming duo deliver their immense live sound to disc with panache.
With the kernels of ‘Kin’ very much forming in the live domain, the brothers made a conscious decision from the get-go to attack this album as they would a sold-out show. In taking the most ear-worm worthy motifs and immoveable jams to emerge from their free-flowing performances, the pair began to stitch together the material that would form the backbone of the record. With a live and loose feel firmly on the agenda and in letting thunderous sticksman Robert Harrison essentially ‘do whatever he wanted’, the percussion on ‘Kin’ soon became something of literal heartbeat for the record.
But of course, it was Echo Town arming themselves with that trademark battalion of instruments we’ve come to associate with them, that would give each composition their sonic sign off. Weaving in an impressive array of guitars, lap-slides, stomp boxes, harmonicas, and yes even a didgeridoo or two, ‘Kin’ is here and arrives and as their most vital, bold and ambitious listen to date.
“There’s no way out!” decry the brothers as they launch ‘Kin’ full throttle with the steely eyed acoustic romp of opener ‘No Way Out’. Just one of the many can-rattling jams strewn through this adrenaline laced record that confirm you’d better buckle up for one hell of a ride. ‘Moving On’ maintains that similar foot stomping furore and guttural vocal yearn, whereas ‘Kin’, an instrumental all about harmony and synchronicity, sees the brothers clearly on the same wavelength, Ric digging deep into his didgeridoo with wild abandon as Rob drives the rhythm section to a similarly lunatic step. But there’s time for breathers of course too. ‘No Different’ is sweet of melody, and refreshing of chorus, a true summer tune with a gentle reggae twist that serves as blissful reminder of the goodness in humanity. ‘Old Friend’ feels like just that, a rousing indie anthem that stirs the soul and begs to be shouted from the rooftops. Yet it’s with album closer ‘I Am Rising’ the band truly show off their musical chops… A near 8 minute melting pot of strung-out latino intros, ragga-infused riffs, monstrous metal chords and sky-stretching solos that bring ‘Kin’ to its conclusion with crashing crescendo.
As lyrically conscious and diverse as ever, on ‘Kin’, Echo Town challenge the powers that be, spread messages of hope, open up like never before, but also of course find time for some good plain fun. Revolutionaries at heart, ‘Rise Up’ explores how to break from the tightening grip of technology upon our lives, whereas ‘I Am Rising’ points the sword at the trappings of religion. Elsewhere, ‘No Way Out’ and ‘Moving On’ both offer glimpses into Ric’s own personal struggles with depression over the years, whereas the joyous hoe-down-like ‘Living It Up’ show he’s through the woods as he extolls the virtues of their many days spent on the road. But perhaps most personal of all is ‘Old Friend’, an incredibly touching ode to an ancient cherry tree Ric and Robert climbed together as children that would become more deeply rooted in their family lives and spiritually than they ever would have imagined.
‘Kin’ was recorded with producer and sound engineer extraordinaire John Cornfield (Muse, The Stone Roses, Ben Howard). With Cornfield taking charge of the mixing and mastering, the record was then given the final production makeover by Echo Town themselves.
Speaking about bringing ‘Kin’ together, Ric says:
‘A good half of the album is made up of tunes we have been jamming at gigs for years that have never progressed beyond being jams, but now they have lyrics and some additional structure. We have a lot more up tempo tunes on this record that reflect our live show more accurately. Wrapped up in these refined jams are conscious lyrics addressing themes such as overcoming personal struggles, caring for the planet, recognising our place and what is truly important in life as well as having fun’
A record that is meant to be heard in the natural environment of its intention, Echo Town will be taking ‘Kin’ out on the road for a series of UK shows this Autumn. Catch the band at the following dates:
Oct 4 – Exeter, Bierkeller
Oct 5 – Perranporth – Wateringhole
Oct 6 – Hope Cove – Hope Cove Bar
Oct 11 – Plymouth – The Junction
Oct 12 – Bideford – Palladium
Oct 13 – Manchester – The Eagle
Oct 18 – Bangor – Blue Sky Cafe
Oct 19 – Chester – Telford’s Warehouse
Oct 20 – Doncaster – Little Theatre (venue tbc)
Oct 26 – Bristol – Crofters Rights
Oct 27 – London – Thousand Island
Nov 1 – Southampton – Joiners
Nov 2 – Brighton – The Brunswick
Nov 3 – Guildford – Suburbs at Holroyd Arms