Offering a refreshingly mature twist on indie pop, Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s third album ‘How to: Friend, Love, Freefall’ reaffirms their ability to simultaneously break and soothe the hearts of listeners
“Try not to kill yourself today,” pleads Rainbow Kitten Surprise frontman Sam Melo on track ten, “Painkillers,” off the band’s third LP. Released in April via Elektra Records (thereby marking RKS’ debut on a major label), How to: Friend, Love, Freefall, is aptly named. While moments within its thirteen songs provide the warm, comfortable feeling of a close friend, other moments suddenly make your heart drop into a pit of all-encompassing emotion: Essentially, a freefall.
‘How To: Friend, Love, Freefall’ – Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Rainbow Kitten Surprise began recording music in a dorm room at Appalachian State University, but even dating back to their first EPs, the now-five piece continuously prove their depth and profoundness as songwriters and artists. Their sound is rich, folksy, dramatic, occasionally whimsical, and overbearingly soulful. Rainbow Kitten Surprise put a refreshingly mature twist on indie pop that has become only increasingly refined during the progression of their career.
“It’s Called: Freefall” perhaps best exemplifies the strangely beautiful sinking feeling that How To… elicits. Goosebump-inducing harmonies dazzle the haunting melody, in which they repeatedly croon about the art of letting go.
Don’t get me venting
on friends who resent you
‘Cause all you’ve ever done
is been a noose to hang on to
They thought was a necklace
and reckless they fell into
Hell where you both hang
with nothing to do but
Scratch, kick, let gravity win like
Fuck this, let gravity win like
You could leave it all behind,
even the Devil need time
You could let it all go,
you could let it all go
It’s Called: Freefall
It’s Called: Freefall
The preceding track, “Fever Pitch,” proves Rainbow Kitten Surprise can do groovy and upbeat just as well as mellow. As the album’s lead single, it features some of RKS’ most raucous drumming and heavy bass-thumping to date. Brimming with addictive “ah-ah” vocals in the background, it’s a challenge to resist dancing along, as exemplified by the accompanying music video.
The uptempo beat returns for the spitting verses of “When It Lands,” as well as “Hide,” a poignant LGBT anthem woven between twiddling guitar riffs that lead up to a passionate, screaming breakdown in the last portion of the song, that makes for a jaw-dropping experience during live concerts.
I hate you more than I miss you
That’s not true, I’d hate to miss you
Anywhere I go anywhere you’ve been before
I get the chance to say goodbye
Or hello I mean
You don’t call
You don’t write
You know I’ve been up for forty days and forty nights
And all my fears have multiplied
By the silence in your eyes
While many of the elements utilized in How to… are familiar to longtime listeners, RKS couldn’t get away without implementing some new tricks on their major label debut. “Moody Orange” is introduced with a rapid, rap-like first verse. The album’s tracks are sandwiched between two of its most compelling tunes: “Pacific Love”and “Polite Company.”The former is an a-cappella introduction to the work of art that is How to…, while the latter is a mellow, piano-driven finale that is comparatively simpler than RKS’ other work, but remains bold in and of itself.
In regards to raw talent, Rainbow Kitten Surprise were long overdue for the major label scene, into which they just entered thanks to Elektra Records. As their third studio album in total, How to… marks Rainbow Kitten Surprise as three-time repeaters when it comes to producing records that manage to simultaneously break and soothe the hearts of listeners. It’s destined to find its way on end-of-year favorite albums lists when 2018 closes its doors. Although RKS claim to teach you how to freefall in this LP, their capabilities exemplified in its recordings and performances confirm the band is ready to soar.
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📸 © Elektra Records