On their second go at a full-length release, vocalist Nina Ljeti and co prove that they’re not messing around with dynamic fluctuations that build to an unbearable level of suspense and accentuate every twist and turn that happens along the way. The journey is kicked off in style by opener “Rabbit” which throws listeners straight into a pumping rhythm and exposes ears to a simultaneously drawling and melodic vocal. A screeching undercurrent carries a great introduction that unleashes a torrent of sound but thematically leaves some fuel left in the tank – and it will be needed.
Following the haunting plead of “Natalie”, twinkling instrumentals break down on “Glisten” as tormenting anxiety backs a begging wail: “why don’t you want me?” Exploring the failure to meet expectations in a relationship, this is just one example of anguished lyrics perfectly matched to a tight recording from Kills Birds’ talented band.
Utilising heavy tones to deliver soft messages, “Reasoning” highlights the group’s ability to throw energy into summoning mountainous soundscapes that entirely absorb the vocal performance pitched at the front. While female-fronted certainly is not a genre, there is something to be said about the delicacy of the vulnerable vocals folding into the bold entity evoked by wailing guitars, crashing symbols, and light bass work; Ljeti only eggs on the madness passing her by.
Blasting through a generous offering of further thrashers, the record finally culminates in the title track; relying on a surprising implementation of acoustics, the finale swells gradually like a balloon, providing a declarative crescendo to the song and indeed the record.
Unapologetically punk while maintaining a melodic appeal, Married explores moods from paranoia and hopelessness to abuse, acknowledging individual issues and finding catharsis in sharing them. Consistently tense and desperate, this LA quartet make alt-punk-rock their own with a triumph flexing their promise – endorsements from Dave Grohl, Sonic Youth and Hayley Williams almost speak for themselves, but you have to hear it to believe it. If you’re not used to a deep rich rock experience, you may find yourself nearing discomfort as the journey progresses; however, as soon as you accept the raucous format and settle in, you’re in for one absorbing voyage.