The Kin | Modern Primitive | Rating: 8/11
The strength of brothers Isaac and Thorald Koren and Mark “Shakerleg” Nicosia’s brand of alt-rock as The Kin has always come from a place of bracing openness; a kind of lyrically bleeding through one’s emotional walls much the same way that Nicosia would bleed through the tape on his hands during a show. And if their latest full-length album, Modern Primitive, turns out to be their final dance as the trio that so many have come to know and love over the past 12 years, they’ve settled up with their sturdiest and most soulful offering yet.
Without losing an ounce of their penchant to weave beautiful threads of hope and pain throughout with dark melody-play, dueling vocals, electronic layers and Nicosia’s atypical percussive support, this album stretches their flair for a well-structured song that effectively pulls you into feeling. If opening track “Warpaint” feels like the bruised face on the album’s cover, it’s probably intentional: the song is combative and almost feels as physical as a body blow where the dark and dirge-like “Falling Pieces” is mournful…disturbing…redemptive…listen at your own risk. But Modern Primitive doesn’t stray from showing off its potential for arena-sized, heartwarming bombast; it simply does so quite tastefully. Ears familiar with the band’s progression of sound can lean on “Ashes” and “Lighthouse” serving up ‘classic’ relatable Kin on loving terms as does a freshened up version of “Everything Changes.”
In the listening, you can hear how Modern Primitive feels sequenced in three parts with the final third seemingly drawing on closure, from the militant frame of “Week of the Disaster” to “Underneath It All.” But it’s the taking in the album, as a whole, that conveys the passionate and full-bodied experience that The Kin have become notorious – in a good way – for.