Even in such a diverse and vibrant music scene, it’s hard to believe that Kill Them With Kindness, the debut album from local trio Headlights, was produced locally, with songs written in a farmhouse surrounded by a monotonous corny landscape. From the jaunty “Lullabies” to the tranquil pastel beauty of the album’s simple cover art, Kindness is beautiful in a melancholy, retro sort of way.
Headlights bring it in their debut full-length album – harmoniously dueling male and female lead singers mixed with keyboards, strings, inspired lyrics, weeping guitar and drums that vary between steady and ruckus. Many of Kindness’ 14 songs literally “pop” and “twinkle” from instruments I can’t and don’t want to name, because then it won’t be as magical.
The album opens with an instrumental for a minute and a half, followed by the dual voices of Erin Fein and Tristan Wraight, showcasing the music before the show on “Your Old Street,” a song posing as a melancholy rock song until it throws you for a loop. Their voices are backed by strings and a slow, steady drumbeat for a moment, and then drummer Brett Sanderson slowly eases more beats in, integrating his drums into the melody, completing the song and the band.
But Fein’s sweet voice stands alone in “Owl Eyes,” another song that begins slow and finishes with a flourish. “I hope that you/ feel the same as I do/ walking through/ the ruins of this crazy town,” she delicately sings.
They know their pop culture, too. “Songy Darko” flows with a peaceful melody that I can only imagine is homage to a certain movie. Jim Morrison sang, “The West is the best,” and Headlights answer with an 18-second accordian solo halfway through the album that should make any corn-fed Midwesterner smile.
“Put Us Back Together Right” is an instant pop classic, again highlighting dual voices that at once compliment each other and move as one. The lyrics, “So we can leave them on their feet in the night,” will stay with you, and the melody as well.
Upon buying the sixth Harry Potter book, I read and re-read, dissected, laughed, cried and had a great time. I finished the book with a sort of bittersweet anguish; excited that I got to experience the book, but already desperate for more of the story. Kill Them With Kindness gave me the same feeling. It left me fulfilled, yet wanting more. Go buy this album.
Kill Them With Kindness will be released on Aug. 22.