We’re about five minutes into our conversation with KICK leader Oisin Leahy-Furlong when he seems to sum up what his group does in one word: “controlled chaos”. He speaks to us a few days before the release of the first album of the Dublin sextet, and you will not find a more succinct description of the disc than this one. Title Megalomania, it’s an album that makes full use of the loudest capabilities of the six-track without ever completely separating. It spans a full hour of runtime, offering more hooks than you’ll find in a tackle shop in what is by far one of the most thrilling debuts of the year so far.
Like many records these days, such a debut is long overdue. KICKwith registration from what now feels like the pre-2019 era. The delay has clearly proven fruitful for the band, allowing them to maximize the full potential of each of their songs by stuffing them with seemingly endless complexities and extending well beyond the six, seven and even eight minute mark. “It always felt intuitive to us and what we want to do to go beyond the normal song structures,” explains Leahy Furlong. “The elevator pitch for the band is like it could be quite heavy, quite psychic, but it’s also totally beholden to a pop sensibility and making sure that at all times that balance is always there. so more of that becomes heavy, the more melodic it should become.
As noted, finding this balance often takes quite a bit of time, something Leahy Furlong admits it wasn’t entirely on purpose, but perhaps a more natural result of the band’s myriad influences, which span everything from electronic music to KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD MAGICIAN and MY DEAR LOVE. Just like these groups, and especially this last one, KICK are particularly fascinated by the idea of breaking the listener’s attention span. “I can guarantee you people will listen to this album and they’ll be like ‘oh my god this is fucking terrible!‘ but the song will go on”, laughs Leahy Furlong. “And then in the middle they’ll be like ‘maybe it’s good‘, and towards the end they are like ‘no it’s really awfulthe, and then in the end they might be like ‘nah it’s really too good‘ – I want the trip, I don’t want the cliff notes!
This idea of travel is confirmed not only in the individual songs, but also in the whole album. In slight break with the craziest abandonment of their beginnings, Leahy Furlong and co. have paid close attention to every detail on Megalomania. “At the very beginning, we were super chaotic and every gig ended with shit exploding and guitars breaking,” he says. “It was a lot of fun, but I got a little tired of doing the circus every night. It kind of felt like the music was secondary to the experience, and the songwriting is really the most important thing for us. So this change happened where I wanted to bottle the feeling people get when they see us smash a guitar, I want to have that feeling, but just listening to music.
“That’s probably the biggest change, but it also started as a solo project and now it’s a collaborative project,” he adds. “I love collaboration, whether it’s musically or just performing in front of an audience is also a kind of collaboration; this communion where everyone is on the same page trying to essentially get the same thing out of an experience is quite intoxicating. So I prefer the way she is now 100% to the way she started.
Another change Leahy Furlong seems to be preparing for the fact that with the release of Megalomania fans might finally be able to understand his lyrics, as they are no longer buried under the band’s live sound walls. As we speak, he’s not quite sure what such an experience will be like, suggesting, “Songs can be emblematic of how you felt in an hour, a day or a week. They may be universal in a sense but the more specific you become, the more you change, the more you move on. Relationships change if it’s a love song if it’s a hate song those relationships change as well but some of them are pretty close to the bone and I don’t know what it’s gonna sound like go out and people really know what i’m talking about.”
Anyway it’s clear Leahy Furlong isn’t about to let that uncertainty stop him and the band from getting back to what they do best. As we come to wrap up, he stresses that he’s in it for the long haul, emphasizing that “all I want to do is this for the rest of my life” before wrapping up, with a glint in his eye. . “The main thing for us now is just to reconnect with the last part of the whole process which is sharing it with people. They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and we can’t wait to get it back, to rekindle our relationship with people – kissing babies, touching some people on the knee and saying ‘Hello, we are here for you, we are ready and we hope you are too‘.”
Delusions Of Grandeur is now available via EMMS.
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