It’s been about two and a half years since I first stumbled across the little emo gem of an EP, Everything’s Bad, from Kingston, New York quartet Kyle & The Pity Party. I remember being exceptionally impressed with the way the band mixed various genres cohesively, making them accessible to just about any fan of good music.
Kyle & The Pity Party are back with a new EP titled Home which has the band refining their sound even more. There’s still a fair bit of genre melding, but Home is a much stronger statement of identity from the foursome. What hasn’t changed, is Kyle McDonough and co’s ability to pack an emotional punch lyrically, musically, and vocally. Home is only four tracks long, but’s a strong set of tracks that will leave you craving more at the end.
Album opener “Neon Lights” has Interpol inspired vocals mixed with a vast soundscape reminiscent of The War on Drugs. An infectious drum beat opens the track and it’s hard to resist bouncing along to it, especially when the glistening guitars come in. The song feels like it would be right at home in an 80’s movie montage of the main characters getting ready to hit the town for an unforgettable night.
Like “Neon Lights,” there’s a cinematic element to the EP’s second track “Indigo.” The opening guitars have a spaghetti western feel to them that make this track the perfect soundtrack for a road trip through the desert. The guitars are a good pscyhe rock / garage rock mix which works well with McDonough’s frantic croon as he sings about an all-consuming love. You can feel that sense of need on the blues inspired guitar solo that closes out the track perfectly.
“My Car” almost feels like the aftermath of “Indigo” where things didn’t work out. “I’ve been sleeping in my car / I’ve been sleeping alone at the bar / And I can’t go home cause it ain’t real / This is honesty, this is how I feel” McDonough laments over cascading guitar riffs. McDonough’s mournful vocals mixed with the drifting guitars create a wonderful dreamy yet disillusioned atmosphere that make it hard not to feel just as hopeless as McDonough seems to.
“Winona Forever” has a Doors psyche rock mixed with the cynicism of The Smiths feel to it. While the track tries to cling to the hopefulness of youth, the bleakness of reality lingers just under the surface. There’s a shimmer to the guitars but it seems just a little off. The more ominous bass line lurks just below, mirroring the grim sense of reality that looms underneath like a shark circling its prey. “Help me feel Winona forever” McDonough begs on the chorus, echoing the desperate feeling we all hang on to as the disillusionment of youth begins to dissipate with age.
Kyle & The Pity Party manage to release another stellar set of songs that will leave the listener wanting more. While they’ve mostly ditched the emo sound of their first release, the band still shows they can masterfully combine genres to create a sound that is both nostalgic and refreshing. There’s a wonderful back and forth of feelings of idealism and disenchantment with the world. I’m loving Home but I can’t help but look forward to the emotional journey Kyle & The Pity Party will take me on next.
Kyle & The Pity Party is hitting the road over the coming weeks.
2/9 – Kingston, NY @bsp
2/10- Boonton, NJ @ Boontunes
2/11 – Hamden, CT @ the Space
2/24- Pittsburgh, PA
2/25- New Paltz, NY @ Mom’s
3/2- Kingston, NY @ The Anchor
3/3- Bushwick, NY @ The Well
3/13 Boston, MA @ Thunder Road
3/16 Albany, NY @ The Low Beat
3/ 17- Woodstock, NY @Zadocks
More Dates TBA