The Killing Suspense – Killing Time

The Killing Suspense
Killing Time

One of the major issues that can be assessed of indie bands is simple – the high turnover rate. Many indie musicians work on multiple musical projects at once, while others just form a sort of revolving door policy as far as what bands exist and don’t exist, and who is or isn’t in them at any given moment. The Detroit area’s The Killing Suspense is a great example of those musical policies, with something like eight people having been regular members of the band at some point.
The project was essentially the brainchild of Dave Graw (currently drumming for Heads Will Roll), who was very ably backed at various points by folks associated with Lisboa and Few and Far Between (amongst many others). Most of the material here is pretty fiercely guitar-centric, though the band’s songwriting does swing from blatantly emo to pleasantly poppy as these nine tracks roll by.
It really is a shame that The Killing Suspense wasn’t actually able to get more material out to the masses during its three years of shows and studio work, as most of Killing Time is solid. Actually, one track from Killing Time, the catchy-yet-aggressive “Feel the Way I Do,” did appear on Chapter Seven of Deep Elm’s Emo Diaries series, though the band was ostensibly finished by that point.
When the guitars are catchy, Killing Time manages to pull weight with such stalworths as Samiam (as in on the hook-ish “Love Song for the Day After,” where Graw’s voice even somewhat resembles Jason Beebout’s) and The Get Up Kids (the tragically solid rocker “I Hear You Loud and Fucking Clear” and the heavily frolicking “Fate”). On the title track, The Killing Suspense pops-out wonderfully, and the band even throws in a few hints of thick, Hum-reminiscent guitarwork in “All Right, But That’s Not the Way it Goes.”
Of course, the band gets a tad bit more aggressive in spots, such as on the scorching “When There’s Nothing Left to Lose,” which actually chugs with a power worthy of Heads Will Roll. The standout parts of Killing Time, though, may just be the most unexpected tracks on the disc. The back-beat to the electronic “Angry Girl” floats along like something played at trance club nights, though the band freshens it up with flourishes of organic piano to keep the song grounded. The album closing “Loved and Lost in a Heartbeat,” however, is the crowning moment, meshing a near-ambient electronic flow with brushes of acoustic guitars and the occasional piano jangle to create a very lulling, peaceful track. Even during the ‘chorus,’ the track stays calm throughout Graw’s pained vocals (which are understandable despite being kept distant in the mix).
Killing Time is a solid, solid CD, encompassing pop, emo, and hints of something harder while also offering flourishes of much tamer, more soothing electronic-based material. On first listen, the two more ambient tracks stick out a bit, but they stand out for being surprisingly solid, rather than for just sounding out of place. Sadly enough, the fact remains that this album (and all the potential that it shows) are nothing more than an after-the-fact swan song for a band that should not have been as far under the indie radar as it was.