With Rebel Kicks gearing up for a performance at The Cutting Room in NYC this Friday, November 3rd at 3:30pm, it’s the perfect time for audiences to experience the energy of their latest release in a live setting. Fans and new listeners alike are in for a treat as the band is set to showcase what could be their biggest NYC show to date, just days after dropping their tantalizing single “Past Life.”
The vocals rely on two key strengths. The first are harmonies. Rebel Kicks employs harmony vocals in a different manner than many of their contemporaries; rather than isolating their efforts in that vein around a few key moments, it’s a wall-to-wall part of the tune and one of its defining features. They turn the focus to a single vocal at crucial points during the arrangement which aids in mixing things up in a compelling way.
The second apparent strength of their vocal presentation is a dollop of post-production effects they apply to the singing. This measure of atmospherics added to the song doesn’t come off as shallow window-dressing but, instead, as a moody touch to the composition’s sonics that helps give it added presence.
Laying these vocals over such a turbulent, yet intensely melodic, arrangement bolsters the song’s standing. It’s a love song, in essence, and framing the track’s sentiments in such a manner gives an almost cinematic flavor to the singer’s emotions. This is love, or infatuation, on a grand scale rather than intimate, muted affection. There’s ample guitar leading the way alongside keyboard contributions, but the rhythm section is a critical part of the song’s success.
The drumming and bass playing engage listeners on a physical level. The latter, in particular, achieves aa near sternum shaking resonance and gives “Past Life” an unshakable framework around which the other musicians are able to build. Clocking in at less than four minutes in length, “Past Life” nevertheless feels and sounds delightfully expansive. It never overstays its welcome with listeners while nonetheless supplying us with enough content for two songs in one.
The production is another key part of the song’s appeal. “Past Life” moves light despite the wealth of activity comprising the song. Each instrument has plenty of room to breathe in the mix and the bright hue of each component in the song feeds into a larger design. It sounds thoroughly polished and professional at every turn.
The New York City band has hit upon their own style early, so the really interesting part begins now. Where do they take it from here? Do they continue doubling down on the approach we hear from this track or drag their musical art in varied directions? Rebel Kicks will no doubt surprise us. They serve notice with “Past Life” that they have the needed talent to be able to do whatever they like with their music and this single will likely stand for many years as a turning point in the band’s story when they began realizing the full extent of their talents.