There are certain bands and albums that only fit in a certain environment. You wouldn’t choose Nine Inch Nails as beach music or progressive rock for karaoke (your friends will get annoyed if it takes 15 minutes for their turn). These types of music work for a specific time or place, but if you take them outside their comfort zone, the results are a little skewed. This is the case for Kites With Lights on their debut EP, The Weight Of Your Heart.
To put it simply, this album is made for the nightlife of whatever metropolitan area you happen to live in. It’s a full-on, no-holds-barred dance record. It’s meant to come out of the speakers at a dimly lit room with purple strobe lighting and a DJ at the front. This is both the EP’s greatest strength and its greatest weakness. If you just want an album to listen to while sitting around, don’t choose this one. However, if you’re in the mood to move your feet and bop your head along to a beat, you’ll find a lot to love from Jonah Cordy, the founder and only member of Kites With Lights.
The title track kicks things off appropriately with a groovy drumbeat, supplemented by a dramatic piano. The melody created on the keys sounds like something that would be playing at the start of a movie, as credits are pasted over sweeping shots of a city. That may not be the first thing you think of when you hear the word “dance,” but it works well against the percussion. Cordy’s distorted vocals bubble just above the surface, sounding like they’re being projected from the bottom of a cave through an old record player. The additions of upbeat keys give the chorus an extra boost while gradually building synths keep things from getting too repetitive. All in all, it makes for a great, techno start to this piece of electronica.
“A Mystery” switches things up a little, coming in with the sound of wind blowing against a microphone. A heavy piano riff hefts its way onto the scene, supported by a bouncy, basketball beat. When the singing starts, it’s much clearer than on the opener and puts Cordy’s competent vocals on display. It continues on with the same melody until about halfway through. Then other elements come into play, including a repeating echo after each chord that adds some weightlessness to the grounded keys. The joyful chorus made of arpeggio synth loops is built for jumping around, a moment of excitement that’s perfect when a dance needs that extra oomph.
Unfortunately, Kites With Lights loses some steam on “We’re Ready” and “The Space”. The former only falters somewhat while the latter falls on its face. “We’re Ready” is introduced by echoes of billowy synths sweeping across the speakers. Vocals are sung in an almost William Shatner-esque style with multiple pauses to fit the high-pitched keys that make up the main melody. It’s not enough to keeps things interesting for long, though. “The Space” is easily the record’s weakest song, lacking any strong melodies to carry it and only having a fast, rockish drumbeat to fall back on.
“Sound of the Rain” will make your ears perk up from the moment its semi-frantic piano chords arrive over handclaps. A pervasive synth drone adds to the atmosphere while multiple effects are added to the melody in the chorus. While these may feel random, they don’t take anything away from the song. The chorus is one of the best moments on the record, with falsettos and steady singing floating over a strong drum breakdown. The elements slowly fade out one by one, downshifting to a peaceful silence.
When it comes to club music, The Weight Of Your Heart should be near the top of your list of debuts to check out. It doesn’t work as well as part of a random iPod shuffle, but if you love electronica, give it a listen. There’s a lot to like about Cordy’s first time out, and he looks like the type of artist to be a big hit at upcoming dance festivals.