Thursday, 9 March 2017

Review: Kids Insane - Cluster [10th March 2017]

Breaking out of the Israeli music scene is quite a difficult feat. In the Israeli punk and hardcore world, it's even more difficult. However, one of the bands that have been making waves in recent years is Tel Aviv's Kids Insane. Having secured themselves European tours with the likes of Defeater and Slander, played shows with bands like Gnarlwolves and Bane and also getting on a few festival lineups, the band have slowly but surely been gaining some attention. I even met a German guy at a festival in The Netherlands wearing a Kids Insane T-shirt. That's some solid recognition right there!

With the addition of Dust guitarist, Ofek, the band are about to release their 2nd full length album, Cluster. The band's debut album, All Over, garnered the band a firm following with their slightly dark, angst-ridden Defeater/Touché Amoré style hardcore. With their Frustrated EP and Split EP with Slander, the band's sound has been seen to be evolving bit by bit. As previews of newer songs in recent shows have already suggested, that process has continued and taken them into new realms.

On Cluster, the band still have some of the same energy as before but with an added "rock n roll swagger" similar to Every Time I Die, John Coffey and even The Bronx. Frontman Corey has always been able to hold a note but here his voice has more melody and takes on a more rock timbre, as do Ofek's dirty riffs, Nadav's solid bass and Yoni's thunderous drumming. Songs like opening track, Left Right Left, Killing Us (which features overly British guest vocals by Thom Weeks of Gnarlwolves) and Not A Slave provide infectious melodic singalongs which differ from their previous more shout-worthy anthems.

Overthinking and Full Tank are similarly more tuneful in a way that is odd to hear. While the former utilises back-up oohs and an organ like a spooky 6os garage rock song, the latter can easily be mistaken for Trent Reznor fronting Deftones at the start but then everything changes when those mighty riffs kick in. 

Even with the vocals and riffs bringing something new to the table, Cluster still includes songs like Varicose and Not Yet which hark back to their classic aggressive hardcore sound. The band have managed to experiment and keep some sort of consistency in quality (of both musicianship and production) and style throughout the record. Nothing sounds out of place and it all strings together pretty well. However, it could be questioned how natural this all is. Not only is their usual subject matter about oppression and hating where you live starting to sound a little cliché but some of the empowering choruses come across as forced attempts to create the next best hardcore anthem. That said, who isn't guilty of that?! As a fan of The Bronx and Hot Damn! era Every Time I Die, I actually embrace the Kids Insane's musical detour and find Cluster to be an interesting record as a whole, with some songs even getting stuck in my head. For others who fell in love with the simple angst of All Over, it might take some time to fully appreciate it.


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