Proving you can’t keep good musicians down, Almost Kennedy is blasting onto the scene with their debut EP, Heard Them Talk, a five-track snack released this past September at House of Targ.
It’s an audacious first foray for this group, whose talented line-up emerges in part from the former local group Northbound, and consists of Max Trepanier (Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitar), Kieran Fleming (Lead Guitar), Aiden Robertson (Bass Guitar) and Christian Lascelles (Drums).
This local talent turns Heard Them Talk into a powerful opening salvo for the band, as it personifies their self-described sound of “jangly guitars, soaring vocals and epic harmonies” — a description that certainly matches with the listener’s journey throughout the album, which offers a distinctly modern take on their obvious Brit-pop, alt-rock influences.
It’s an approach that stands out right off the hop, as the EP’s lead-off track, “Hearsay”, offers a fun surfer vibe that comes through via wobbly guitar riffs. The vocals, rife with solid back-up harmonies, are paired well with the sunshiny feel that punches up the track. However, this belies a different tone lying beneath the surface, which is hinted at by lyrics such as “Heed my words, take my hand, I hope one day you understand.”
This is followed by “Silver & Gold”, which sneaks in with an ambient intro before quickly and abruptly picking up the pace. Once again, the strong lead and harmony vocals are intertwined beautifully with the driving drum beats and the full splashy cymbals, which are paired with a tambourine and energetic guitar riffs. Just go ahead and try not to sing along to the contagious chorus of “Ooooooooooooooooooo”s:
This intensity fades meaningfully into the third track, “Smoke Signals”, which offers softer vocals and instrumentals laced with an almost indefinable edge. It’s an emotional pause of sorts that leans out of your stereo before swinging right back around into the next track.
Indeed, the fourth track, “New Mexico”, wastes no time baring its teeth before ramping up into some solid kick drum beats that punch through to a meaty crescendo. Self-reflective lyrics are peppered with more melodic back-up vocals amidst the instrumental breaks, and there’s no doubt there’ll be lighters out when this one is played live.
This pushes through to the album’s closer, “Come Find Me”, where Trepanier’s lead vocals soar over propulsive percussion work, demonstrating great range from start to finish. The rhythm section is incredibly strong throughout this track as well, leaving the album to wrap up with a particularly strong finish.
All told, Almost Kennedy’s Heard Them Talk is an album full of solid riffs and driving beats paired with robust melodic vocals and great back-up harmonies. The tracks seem to redefine themselves from one listen to the next, demonstrating a depth to their songwriting and arrangements that simply shouldn’t be missed.
In other words, be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming shows and band news on social media!