We can suppose that when a band forms during a pandemic, it’s par for the course that they can blaze dynamic pop/rock trails even though they’ve never officially played a live gig. In the case of the edgy yet fiery, sonically inventive and splendidly melodic indie rockers Kick and the Hug, the seamless coolness of and effortless communication between lead singer/guitarist Doug Murray and Sam Young has deep roots in the thriving early 90’s scene in Boulder, CO when they jammed together in The Winebottles.
In some ways, the band - featuring Mike Ferguson (bass, strings, vocals) and Tyler Skye (lead guitar, producer) – embodies this era’s musical aesthetic, creating the soulful, high powered and emotionally charged ten tracks of their debut Ladies and Gentlemen, Kick and the Hug via digital file transfer, with members scattered from L.A. to Philly and Denver. Their unique title is not simply an introduction to the combined effervescent magic of four veteran musicians, but a hopeful hint towards their intention of playing live as much as possible in the months and years to come.
Audiences lucky enough to be part of that experience will be treated to a wild earful, from the punched up power pop of the opening track “In A Minute” (highlighted by the hopeful refrain, “If it makes you feel good…it’s all all right by me’) and quirkily produced (with trippy synth effects) emotional outpour of “Girl You Changed” through the a vocal harmony laden, anthem-like singalong “Born Too Late” and the breezier, hypnotic and playfully humorous “Boy.” In Kick’s promo materials, they mention that a unique term has been bandied about to describe their overall vibe: “Indie rock…for parents.”
Their sweet melodicism amidst the feisty grooves and crunchy guitars may back that up to some degree – with the sweet, easy flowing acoustic ballad “Daughter” emphasizing the AC-ness - but Murray adventurously challenges this supposition when, in the midst of the explosive jam “Dead Mom” he lets out a guttural eight second scream that might make even Steven Tyler blush a bit. Overall, I tend to side with their belief that “anyone will dig it.”
And until these guys can gather onstage, let’s work on building those social media likes – because part of their story is that they got rejected by several labels because they didn’t have enough traction yet. No matter, they’re new and when these songs catch on, they’re gonna blow. One of the great things about being a work in progress that’s never played live or toured is the opportunity to develop beyond anyone’s expectations. As they said in a recent interview on patch.com: “I think we’ve decided we’re gonna be whatever kind of band we feel like at any given moment.” More power to them, and please, guys, don’t limit yourselves!