Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
A song like "Beat Your Heartbeat," by The Kissaway Trail, is a testament. It's a reference to experience that all or various members of the ensemble from Odense, Denmark can call upon when they'd most or least like to. It's come to fit them, like an old and worn-in sweater, these sentiments that warn to watch out what you're doing, because no one else is watching out for you. It's this warning about the organ that puts itself in harm's way more often than its keepers would ever like it to. It crosses busy intersections without looking - always. It dives head-first into lakes and ponds without ever scoping out the depth of the floor covering. It drives blind, and often drunkenly, swerving and swaying with unseen gravity. It's that pesky heart, the one you owe your mother and father for, and the one that seems to have a tendency to let a person down more times than, say, the legs or the arms would. Lead singer Thomas Fagerlund sings on this song, "They will beat your heart, never like they say," as if to suggest that even when you think you're onto the plot, when you think that you and your peeled eyes have spotted a discrepancy, there's about to be a nasty, nasty plot twist somewhere in the next few pages and then, boy, you'd better look out. The beatings are imminent and the repercussions are as well, just far less predictable. Toward the end of the song, the only word we're really picking out of the crowd, as this line is repeated over and over again, is the word "beat," which seems to double up on itself and become such a lasting impression that we wince at its mere mention, feeling some of that impending contact. The band, which was out on tour with The Temper Trap at the time of their stop - just post-SXSW, and made up of Fagerlund, Soren Corneliussen, Daniel Skjoldmose, Rune Pedersen and Hasse Mydtskov, sprinkles these notions of getting caught up in the cycle of beatings and brewings, while giving the accompanying music this optimistic tone that resembles one of those nightly skies that don't happen all that often (maybe they do in Denmark), where every shade of pink and orange is accounted for in some kind of bleeding watercolor. You look up and feel apart or in-sync with what you're gazing upon and it doesn't matter one way or another. You're there and these are the feelings you're getting - the feelings you're coming across. The Kissaway Trail give us this sense of community and of these bum things happening through all and no fault of our own, as if this might all be a part of a master plan, whatever it may be. It feels as if we're caught up in some netting and we're going to be lucky if we get out of this unscathed, but no one is anticipating that it's even an option to do so. It's wonderfully chaotic and beautiful at the same time and it's hard not to invoke the name of the Arcade Fire, as a point of callback, as something that it reminds us of. It's one of those street riots, domestic disputes from "Funeral," where Alexander, their oldest brother is causing everything to go utterly haywire and the cops are called and then it gets interesting. We're under the same kind of spell here, trapped by all of the certainty and uncertainty of how it's going to work out, how we're going to work out, through all of this craziness. The Kissaway Trail are with us, advising and simultaneously telling us that they really can't be sure that any of it will help.