Allow me to introduce Kidaphex1975. No, it’s not an AOL IM account from the late 90’s but is in fact an exciting and new indie rock band from Berlin. The band’s front man James Trottier lists the band’s influences as being : The Smiths, 4AD, The Cure, Radiohead and REM. Having listened to their new album, Hunger Streets, I’m ready to believe that.
The backing rhythm of title track, Hunger Streets, achieves what all great rhythm tracks seek to achieve. Without realising it, your breathing matches it until you’re caught up in the track.
“I was supposed to get wiser but I did not”
In some ways we’ve heard the lyrics before: An urban landscape in which time seems to stand still and the people inside struggle to find meaning and progress within its confines. We’ve all found ourselves, at a stage in our lives when we find ourselves stuck in a rut and we’re trying to escape but something always chains us down.
“In these streets there are no angels, just hours drifting without rain”
The band describe themselves as lo-fi Garage Band but the lyrics of the Hunger Streets track are deep and gritty, stripping away the shiny veneer of indy music that sometimes acts as a sugar coating for the depth inside. Here, you are dropped into the harsh and callous reality and left to find yourself.
Deep and gritty
It’s like the nights out when the rest of your friends go home with sometbody but you don’t and you find yourself alone and outside the club doors. It’s at that time when you wonder about the direction that your life is going and how you got there. I’m hesitant to put Kidaphex1975 in the same category as British artists like Ed Sheeran and Passenger but their Hunger Streets track plays on the same themes of helplessness and urban oppression.
Clear REM inspiration
The rest of the album will feel familiar to anybody who enjoys the 80’s American rock sound of REM. There’s a sort of soft, folk-rock feel to the album that is carried nicely throughout and I’m excited to hear their next album. At times the album mixing is a little raw but given the lo-fi Garage Band aesthetic of the album, I’m completely willing to overlook some bits that are a little rough around the edges. Here at Indieberlin, we’re eagerly looking forward to their future work and any gigs they have lined up in the future.
*Picture by James J. Trottier.