Kestrels “Dream Or Don’t Dream”
Kestrels bio describes them as a “fuzzy, reverb drenched power-pop band”. That coupled with the promise of an album containing “big hooks and ripping riffs, filtered through classic mid 90’s indie rock” was certainly enough to entice us to give this a listen.
Opening number “Vanishing Point” had us searching even further back than the mid 90’s for an influence. It opens with a real cacophony of sonic sounds, before merging into a more melodic tone. That mix of power and anger had us reminiscing about Husker Du. Tracks like “Don’t Dream”, “Everything Is New” and “Dalloway” manage to walk that tightrope of being melodic but also with a sense of underlying rawness.
However, the biggest clue of the band’s influences is the presence of the legendary J Mascis on “Grey And Blue”. The song is appropriately Dinosaur Jr esque and the guitar work is expectedly majestic. We’re not sure if he also appears on “A Way Out”, but the solo on that also matches his brilliance and takes your breath away. Tracks like “It’s A Secret” and “Feels Like The End” follow the Dinosaur Jr approach of having an almost slacker like feel to them but they are being played by the hardest rocking band in town.
This is a really quality album which suggests a band that has really honed it’s style. The musicianship is obviously brilliant, but it doesn’t feel too clinical. It’s the sort of album that you could see ‘kids’ getting into and then using it as an introduction to some great alternative rock bands from ‘back in the day’ (Husker Du, Dinosaur Jr, Jawbreaker etc). It’s great to see a band bringing this punk rock sound bang up to date.