Alternative rock bands from London aren’t exactly thin on the ground but Victory Kicks are certainly worth twenty one minutes of your time for this debut EP. A promise of “lean, unfussy, fun catchy rock music that doesn’t feel overly indulgent” certainly sounds good on paper and for a British band, they also sound distinctly American and probably come closest to the style of French Kicks or The Stills in that regard.
‘Dive! Dive! Dive!’ fulfils their early promise for riffy, rhythmic guitar work. It’s no nonsense, fuzzy, indie rock with repetitive but effective driving guitars at its core and the airy vocals from the frontman offer an unusual counterpoint. ‘Eventually It Breaks’ also benefits from a fuzzy exterior but its softer, bass-heavy approach is ultimately more hypnotic. Disappointingly, the lighter ‘Pioneer’ is more in keeping with the post-Britpop/rock scene, but is a little too undemanding to warrant repeat listens.
Pleasingly, the more the band expand their horizons, the more they prosper. With ‘January Man’, they begin dipping their toes into atmospheric country rock, including some neat ambient touches. ‘Birdcage’ is similarly impressive as the group aim for a echo-heavy production and avoid the obvious verse-chorus format. By the time of the last track, ‘Exit Industry’, they have come full circle with a catchy riff and a harder edge to match the verve of the opening track but since they’re fine exponents of this particular trick, who can blame them for trying this technique again?
Overall, this is an encouraging start for a new band who express a thirst for experimenting that will serve them well for future releases. ‘Rockets For Ghosts EP’ perhaps lacks a truly killer track but is made up of a consistently decent set of songs.
French Kicks, The Stills