Coming out of the gate with some impressive two part harmonies, especially during “Through the Width of a Straw”, The Kite-Eating Tree makes their own disc into an interesting journey. Mixing up a great deal of distortion with saccharine-sweet vocals, “Method: Fail, Repeat…” is an amalgam of two major stylistic genres: what is being called emo-rock (in the vein of Taking Back Sunday and Story of the Year) and an earlier strain of post-grunge in Stabbing Westward and early Filter. As with a number of bands, most notably Bayside, The Kite-Eating Tree is careful to separate the multi-part harmonies cleanly from the super-sonic guitar solos, which are in themselves reminiscent of the hair metal acts of the late 1980’s. While the music on this disc is very radio-friendly in the production style, it still is eons away from anything else that is being played on the radio at this current period.
What really is The Kite-Eating Tree’s forte is their ability to use odd time signature and staggered vocal delivery, such as in “Hollywood Hates You”. However, the major fault with this disc is the fact that all of the songs are done in such a small spectrum both musically and vocally that everything really starts to sound the same on the disc. Each track has the same over-distorted guitar, but there are numerous hints of brilliance to be found on this. The earth multi-part harmony that raises up “Like Butterscotch” from the mediocrity of its clichéd guitar riffs is just a perfect example of this. And, I think, that the guitars are the major snag on this otherwise good album. Firstly, the riffs that permeate these songs are completely out of place that the type of vocals would indicate – I would expect Michael’s lyrics to morph magically into a Limp Bizkit / Linkin Park type of unholy hybrid.
There is no denying that the guitarist for The Kite-Eating Tree is talented in eir’s own right, but the contrast between eir’s riffs and the rest of the band, including the rhythm guitarist, is almost too much for an individual to bear. Each one of the tracks on “Method: Fail, Repeat” is definitely a nugget of post-hardcore goodness, with drums rivaling Travis Barker at times (Softer Seems the Pavement). The band does need to explore a broader range of sound before gaining greater success, as the talent of the band was never called in question, but what they ended putting on this disc was.
Top Tracks : Through the Width of a Straw, Hope is a Passenger
Rating : 6.3/10
The Kite-Eating Tree – Method: Fail, Repeat / 10 Tracks / 2004 Cowboy Versus Sailor / http://www.thekiteeatingtree.com / http://www.suburbanhomerecords.com / Released 23 March 2004 / Reviewed 07 February 2004