The Kingdom


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The short and appealingly quirky debut by the Kingdom, Unitas claims to be a fictionalized biography of the legendary Baltimore Colts quarterback, but don't believe it for a second. The only through-line on this album is the way each short, punchy, indie rock tune is preceded by a distorted female voice with a possibly fake British accent, detailing the title of the upcoming song and its purported place in the album's mythology. The songs themselves are D.I.Y. indie pop of the first order, filled with layers of tape hiss, wheezing inexpensive keyboards, churning electric guitar lines, and a haphazard rhythm section just barely keeping the whole thing together. The male/female vocal blend of guitarist Charles Westmoreland's strangled yelp and keyboardist Jenna Roadman's helium-pitched, zero-affect harmonies is strictly out of the Indie Rock 101 playbook, but Westmoreland has written some compelling tunes here. The opening "I Am Constellation" is the highlight, but the four proper songs out of these eight tracks are uniformly strong. Perhaps the pretensions of the rest of the album will be exorcised on its follow-up.

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