Versed in an extensive musical vocabulary, Halifax, Nova Scotia’s, Kestrels speaks in words, rhythms and rhymes coherent with vivid imagery and a keen sense of fluency. Gathering from various sources such as Radio Dept.-esque shoegaze with a more raw, pungent and vintage sonic approach, Kestrels obviously understands the importance of staying relatively self-contained as they self-produced their most recent sophomore release, A Ghost History on Canadian Indie label, Sonic Unyon Records. It was released on June 5th in Canada and July 24th in the United States.
Following no specific “hash tag” method of eloping into a droning rock indie band who just loops a bunch of noises and yells over top of them, the beauty and quite possibly even the downfall of Kestrels is the way they wonderfully fumble through the mostly loud, but relentlessly catchy distorted jams. The Canadian trio consists of Chad Peck on vocals and guitar, Devin Peck on bass and Paul Brown on the skins. An amicable encounter and surely an evident highlight on the new record for Chad Peck and the boys was the chance to meet longtime youth idol vocalist Tim Wheeler of the band ASH backstage at a show and recruit the Irish punk songster to lend a hand (or just a voice) to Kestrels upcoming (at the time) sophomore release. Tim Wheeler’s vocals can be heard on the song, “Dumb Angel”.
The track “The Light” echoes a distorted guitar tone for near 45 seconds before entering in with a driving groove frilled with crisp cymbals hits, a rhythmic guitar jam ridden with feedback and vocal melodies sure to incite a head bob or two (or five). Without a doubt, a definite pop influenced pleaser which has tendencies of catering to the grungy guitar solo crowd as well as the strictly indie crowd. Several of the tracks on A Ghost History can find themselves relatively along this path. As a critic, which I guess I have to be at times, there are some tweaks potentially needed in the rhythmic crevices with some slight unsynchronized aspects, but arguably this type of raw, off the center groove is the type of sound they are aiming for, and in that case my hat is off to Kestrels for their gritty nuances to the genre.