The Kindred Get an A for Effort, C for Everything Else on Life In Lucidity
The old adage about Frank Zappa is that he put out enough music that it’s highly probable you will find both something you like and something you won’t like. I feel that way about The Kindred’s Life in Lucidity. There’s a lot to enjoy about the artists formerly known as Today I Caught The Plague — but just as much to roll your eyes at. Their scope is undeniably wide, and Lucidity’s best moments arrive via The Kindred’s willingness to go over the top. That leads to some fun and great songs, but hubris can only take a band like this so far. Serving a little spoonful of a lot of dishes can still leave your guests hungry.
Where Life in Lucidity succeeds is in harnessing the divisive. It nails post-djent prog-core (or fucking whatever) with supremely nerdy technicality and strong riffs. Vocalist David Journeaux could easily have been the most annoying dude holding a mic since that guy from Puddle Of Mudd, but he is usually more puckish and unique than grating. And Lucidity isn’t lacking in songs, either: Big gang vocals buoy “Heritage” and dare you to deny its bottomless charm, and instrumental “Millennia” is a fun take on spaghetti Western soundtracks filtered unapologetically through a Pink Floyd lens. It’s not a lack of trying that causes Lucidity to stumble. At all.
The issue is that The Kindred ultimately lack the focus to pull off a glorious mishmash. By stretching its genre’s (or genres’) boundaries to extremes, Life in Lucidity collapses in on itself. At the album’s midpoint, “Millennia” serves as a pivot: Before it, The Kindred’s ambition is charming; after it, Journeaux’s screamed choruses start to vibe more “tantrum” than “rallying cry,” and the fit of Lucidity‘s orchestration grows stretched rather than snug. In the vacuum of a few songs, The Kindred have a fun, intellectually curious spirit. But across an album like Life in Lucidity, it doesn’t work. While it’s good to see a band not eager to pound itself into a mold, dumping everything you can around said mold doesn’t really amount to much either.