London’s Victory Kicks created a largely impressive first EP which drew comparisons with fellow indie rockers French Kicks and The Stills. A new album has followed swiftly and stays true to their promise of “lean catchy rock music”. Interestingly, the title ‘The Decibel Age’ came from a 60’s article in The Chicago Herald decrying the increased noise levels in the city and there is a quiet confidence to this record which only rarely threatens to “rock out”.
Carried along by chugging rhythms, ringing guitars and John Sibley’s breezy vocals, ‘Suitcase’ is an arresting opener. What the song lacks in intensity it makes up for in insistent melody and energy. That’s Victory Kicks’ charm and appeal in a nutshell really; their songs don’t blow you away but they are certainly infectious in a controlled and intelligent way. ‘Junior Code Course’ and ‘Autumn Machine’ tick the right boxes too, with strong footholds in the new wave scene.
‘The Decibel Age LP’ is a model in consistency for the most part and whilst deviations from the slick formula are encouraged, the acoustic number ‘Losing Time’ possibly loses momentum too although the twinkling, wistful ‘Replaced With Birds’ is a much more effective variation. It’s perhaps no coincidence that they sound better when the band toughen up a bit so ‘Expected A Ghost’ and ‘Mercy Rules’ both have a satisfying muscular edge, whilst Part II of the title track closes the album with another compelling hook.
Across thirty five minutes, ‘The Decibel Age’ consolidates rather than progresses the band’s oeuvre and one feels if they are to achieve the next step up, they need to develop a greater urgency and dynamism. Nevertheless, Sibley and his bandmates prove themselves to be a tight little unit who are content to make their mark with tunes rather than high volume levels.
Victory Kicks Bandcamp
Pilots Of Japan, French Kicks