Kitchens and Bathrooms: Vehicles Beyond

Kitchens and Bathrooms
Vehicles Beyond
(Sonic Unyon)

You’ve got to hand it to Kitchens and Bathrooms. This three-piece walks the fine line between epic expression and overblown histrionics quite well. If that is your cup of tea. The unintelligible ramblings of the lead singer Phil Williams lend a particular drama to the proceedings, and the band’s non-traditional arrangements push the envelope of abstract post alternative rock. For those punk and post punk historians, it’s kind of like the Minutemen slowed down and given a heavy dose of sadness. The angular, arrhythmic jams, the sudden changes in musical direction, all speak to some sort of higher calling. This higher calling, unfortunately, is hidden behind such auteur moves as leaving a song untitled, although this reviewer thinks that may have been a move of necessity, since song titles like “He’s on a Dirt Bike” and “The Woods” are so cryptic as to be almost crippling.

These guys do have their charms however. The first track “First in, Last out” is a fine example of what these Canadian kids are going for, a high-tension wire of a song, held together by a frail clean-picked guitar riff, until the boys get down to brass tacks and deliver a herky-jerky middle section worthy of post-Rush power trios everywhere. “The Commodity” actually lets a clear emotion shine through (loss of love, or perhaps alienation?) and props up the plaintive vocal with appropriate sturm und drang. “Vehicle Beyond” is not a bad record, its merely the sound of a band working through its influences, trying to find their sound. They’re doing a pretty good job so far.