More Kicks: Punch Drunk
CD | LP | DL
Released 16 September 2022
Following on from two singles which showcased their heavier and more expansive sound, More Kicks finally bring us the full experience through their second album, Punch Drunk. It’s another joyful ride through their own brand of infectious power-pop infused rock’n’roll which is bound to add to their already growing fanbase.
More Kicks announced their arrival to the outside world in 2019 with their self-titled debut album which delivered an explosion of ragged power-pop songs full of energy and melodious charm. These were seriously infectious songs which were always destined to put you in a much better mood whatever your situation at the time. However, the mood right across the world was soon to take a serious dive as lockdown became the new norm. But, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and the world’s plight became the inspiration for More Kicks new album Punch Drunk which we can now enjoy in a far more positive environment.
As singer and guitarist James Sullivan explains, “This album became a total obsession and a lifeline. Stuck in one place, the songs all came from heartbreak, frustration, anger, hope. It feels like a unique set of circumstances that produced this record and I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
This power trio of James Sullivan, together with Kris Hood on drums and Paolo Mantovani on bass and vocals, have certainly cooked up a mighty feast of classic 60’s garage and 70’s New York rock’n’roll all wrapped up in a sandwich of raging 90’s guitar pop. And it is perhaps through some of that anger and frustration that this album has a harder edge than its predecessor. But whatever the case, it is ultimately to our benefit as the album sweeps seamlessly from sheer raw punk attitude to a stripped-down ballad in the beat of a heart.
The first single from the album, Animal, really sets the tone for what is to come with its wild, raging and almost overblown guitars dominating throughout. However, whilst this song moved the band into new territory and the video portrays exactly what they look like and sound like now, it still retains the trademark melodic chorus lines which is what makes them so instantly memorable. Hurts Like Hell runs in a similar vein, whilst also using the spoken word storyboard overlaying the soundtrack mid-song which James Sullivan used to such good effect on his recent solo album, Light Years.
In Love is nothing short of an all-out punk attack overlayed with an explosion of melody. The dramatic opening of guitar feedback and drums leads into a homage to the intro of The Clash’s incendiary version of Police On My Back as it nearly blows the amps once again. Seven Ways is so heavy it’s venturing into grunge territory whilst Got Lucky immediately calms it all down again with a stripped back sparser ballad with James in a more sombre and reflective mood.
Terminal Love was the second single from the album and again showcases their sparse garage sound, with the bright sound contrasting sharply with the narrative which exposes a sad reflection on a relationship which is creeping towards an inevitable ending. Come Home is a complete rock out whilst Colour Me Stupefied has the spectre of Tom Petty running through the melody line and a rhythm track that would not sound out of place on an album by The Who. It’s like one of those songs that sounds like lots of things you have heard before without ever being able to nail it down to one particular song.
Good Enough and Rest Of Our Lives again follow an overblown rock’n’roll path in fine style with Phoney Middle Aged Art being a short and seemingly tongue in cheek ditty with just James and his guitar. Closing song Goodnight Goodnight starts off with just James and his guitar before the band kicks in mid-song and it explodes into life for a rousing finale.
Punch Drunk really shows how More Kicks have evolved into a cohesive rock’n’roll force to be reckoned with. Its wild, its raw and its loud, but it is also coloured with so many infectious melodies and rousing chorus lines which give it an enviable charm. Amidst all the anger and frustration that ignited this album through lockdown, there is a bright and infectious power-pop infused rock’n’roll album which was fighting to get out and now is your chance to hear it.
You can pre-order the album Punch Drunk here.
All words by Ian Corbridge. You can find more of his writing at his author profile.