The Kissaway Trail - The Kissaway Trail

'The Kissaway Trail' is a collection of bright and imaginative tunes created on a broad canvas and with a varied palette.

Read more on The Kissaway Trail Listen to The Kissaway Trail on Spotify
Released 23 Apr 2007 | Bella Union | By Richard Stokoe | Rating: 4
The Kissaway Trail - The Kissaway Trail

The debut full-length release from Denmark's 'The Kissaway Trail' is brimming with optimism and euphoria from start to finish. This may come as no surprise given that it's released by Bella Union, a label that is co-owned by Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde, formerly of Cocteau Twins - the original masters of widescreen musical transcendence.

Without exception, every tune is a little ray of sunshine designed to uplift and enlighten, with nary a dark corner to be found. Until, that is, you listen to the lyrics. At this point the album's true identity as a sugar-coated pill is revealed. Take 'Forever Turned Out To Be Too Long', for example. You could hardly wish for a more triumphant opening track; church organ, strings, bells chiming, choir chirruping - it's The Polyphonic Spree meeting Sigur Ros at a wedding. Marry this with the lyrics - "Hey, if you're listening you'll hear the world's inner decay, forever turned out to be too long" - and the band's dichotomy of hope versus despair becomes plain. Nearly every track has the same sense of joy striving to overcome reality; 'It's Close Up Far Away' contains the lines "look at the roads like veins and the cities as blood clots" to the tune of a gently strummed acoustic guitar and a Bossa Nova rhythm.

As sombre as the lyrics may seem, the music can only serve to make you smile and feel glad that you're alive. Other highlights include the childlike exuberance of 'La La Song', marking a return to the happy-clappy template, the post-rock textured 'Bleeding Hearts', and 'Sometimes I'm Always Black', which recalls fellow Danes Mew at their finest.

'The Kissaway Trail' is a collection of bright and imaginative tunes created on a broad canvas and with a varied palette. Trumpets, violins, flugelhorns and banjos all contribute to the multicoloured musical topography and the fact that vocal duties are shared between Thomas Fagerlund and Soren Corneliussen adds much to the listening experience. This band have set themselves a very high standard.