A high-octane romp through styles ranging from blues, country, indie rock and metal, Kin from Waylon Speed is an eclectic sound that belongs to parts well south of the band’s native state of Vermont. Opening with a country groove on “Coming Down Again”, producer/guest player Mark Spencer (Son Volt) adds pedal steel that moves along lines similar to Old 97s and accenting the standout “Until It All Ends”, the chugging “Tally-Ho” and the slow lament of “Days Remain the Same”. One can imagine many shapes being thrown during the recording of Kin, from the blues punch of “Smooth the Gain” and the Blue Öyster Cult riff on “Union” to the prog rock guitar solo on the scuzzy “Reminds Me”.
A veritable mixed bag, Kin lacks any true sense of cohesiveness. The album wains on its second half, bogged down by its genre-splicing on songs like “Shakin’” which veers between alt- and bro-country. The bouncing “In Your Mind” flirts with melodic indie rock before giving way to extended guitar wankery. Energetic and ambitious, Waylon Speed’s Kin keeps you guessing while also overstaying its welcome as if echoing the chorus of “On a Wire”: “Even birds on the wire / All grow tired sometimes.”
// Notes from the Road
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