Kidney Thieves - "Trickster"
By Marcus Pan
This is not an easy review to write.
Usually I have a host of information about the band, their music, their
but not this time. This time I have nothing to go on.
There is another band with the same name - obviously not this group of nuts I'm
listening to now, though. The Push Records website (www.pushrecords.com) is
"under construction," seemingly indefinitely. That is so not cool - I don't
like reviewing a band I can tell you nothing about excepting what is in the CD
But we're going to try. Not because I have to - but because
the Kidney Thieves are such a raw, strong and powerful act that I can't resist
offering them up to all my rivethead pals. So let's crack the CD case. First we
have to get past the naked chick covered in mud (?) that adorns most pages in
the jacket. Brings me back to my days in the mud pit of the NY Rennaisance
Fair. (Don't ask - it's quite sordid.) Ah, here we go. "Kidney Thieves are Free
Dominguez and Bruce M. Somers." They write their own music, too. Cool. Welp -
other than realizing that Push Records is in NYC and only a few blocks away
from my office, I can't tell you anything more about the band. I can go on to
tell you about the music though.
What I am believing to be their full length debut,
Trickster, is a rather hardcore rivet/thrash album with lots of
industrial scratches. Guitars coalesce together, sometimes strumming chords
sometimes slamming riffs. The bass is highly represented in most of their music
with strong and moving lines in most tracks. And being somewhat of a bassist
myself, I say huzzah. Beat tracks and percussion is rather complicated,
providing a fast rate of movement to apply other instruments against for a good
stomp-dance spin. Free's vocals are sultry and sexy, very widespread and
powerful. She has a touch of the diva sound, with sweet undertones, but
overshadowed with a strong counterpart of hatred and torment. Like a victimized
little girl - sweet for a moment but always looking to thrash when you're not
The album opens with the electro-industrial scraping of
Taxicab Messiah. A loss-of-faith song with witty lyrics and powerful
guitars blaring throughout. "My god is weird, my god is scared, my god paints a
pretty picture of fear." Next comes the wicked and thrusting S+M (a love
song). What I admire most about this song, besides the fact that I have
stomped to it at clubs and can tell you it is a heavy experience, is how they
bill it as a love song. And why shouldn't it be? Not all love is pretty roses
and smiles - love is, after all, just the flip side of hatred. Said my
co-worker, who has to partially listen to the music that I review because my
headphones are always maxed out, "Sounds like death coming with a dentist's
drill." Love to the tune of a drill.
Later on in the album, the Kidney Thieves
get a little softer in sound. By the time Feathers comes in, their sound
becomes subdued and almost trancelike. Deep bass lines that rumble from below
and percussion that drives through you. I can trance to this as well as work by
Eno and AFX - regardless that the Kidney Thieve's music is a completely
different genre. But then when you get comfortable, the guitar rips in.
Trickster meanwhile relies more on its superb rhythm concept, a
multi-faceted thing that utilizes multiple drumming styles and, again, that
powerful bass line sliding across the frets. A story of losing one's parents
and having to grow up alone, and not tragically losing. They're just not
interested. "I burned my fire again, I answered all my questions."
Kidney Thieves are strong pioneers that fuse together
rhythms and industrial strength live guitars & bass to create some kind of
dance floor mayhem. Most of their music is powerful and driven and Free's
vocals are superb and sexy - titillating at one moment and gut wrenching the
next. Touching upon facets of modern life's angst and pain that we all face at
one time or another, it is a testament to the parable - "That which does not
kill us, makes us stronger." Kidney Thieves have gathered plenty of torment on
their first full length and strike it with strength and fury while keeping it
danceable, rhythmic and a pleasure to hear. Pain to the soul, pleasure to the
ears. Not a small feat to accomplish. I hope they haven't disbanded.
Post: PUSH Records,
53 W. 23rd St., 11th Floor, New York, NY, 10010