Kassidy – One Man Army
Glasgow four-piece Kassidy (named after Butch Cassidy, not Neal Cassady), have had some highs and lows over the past couple of years. Their sold-out performance at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom saw them regain confidence after debut album Hope St was called “godawful to listen to” by the NME back in March 2011.
With four guitars in a four-piece line up, long hair in the style of Nickelback (or more appropriately, The Dude) and lyrics like “one of the broken hearted, a place where the people party”, it is difficult to tell how seriously Kassidy take themselves. And more to the point, how seriously they expect us to take them. In Glasgow they are taken very seriously indeed and enjoy a large, dedicated following. Will the album One Man Army be enough for Kassidy to break away from Scotland and lead an army of rockers nationwide?
In a word, no. Clunky rhymes, repetitive choruses and an evident comfort zone of “ooooh” harmonic vocals make for a largely unremarkable album. Title track One Man Army features an incredible attention grabbing piano pre-chorus, which seems to become bored of itself and tails out, without having gone anywhere particularly exciting.
Likewise I Can’t Fly, which starts off well with a creepy sound and a sense of exuberant panic reminiscent of Interpol, but also fails to develop. Throughout the album, Kassidy seem to directly lift sounds from iconic bands, creating an interplay of aural references, which sometimes work well as on Driven By Fools with its interesting discordant piano intro. However, as the album progresses it becomes increasingly evident that Kassidy simply do not know how to sound like themselves.
Almost every track returns to overdone layered harmonies in the chorus and chant-like, anthemic lyrical repetition. Every song is trying to be the next Sex On Fire, rather than simply being Kassidy. One track alone stands out: Get By. Very sexy, backed up by quivering rock vocals and a totally unashamed guitar solo, Get By is bluesy, referential without being emulative, and intensely catchy without being grating. If this is what Kassidy sounds like, they should be doing more of it. It doesn’t seem possible that the band who wrote Get By also wrote Home, which comes three tracks later and sounds like something from the soundtrack to the O.C.
Kassidy is very safe rock music and not a lot more; a pleasant album, but certainly not an edgy one. If One Man Army is Kassidy’s big break, get ready to hear tracks such as Maybe I’ll Find in car adverts all summer long.
One Man Army is out on 30th April on Vertigo Records. Pre-order and buy the single I Can’t Fly now.
Watch Kassidy sing new tracks from their album One Man Army here