Rapid Review: The Kite String Tangle - 'The Kite String Tangle'

Written by Zanda Wilson.

The Backstory

The Kite String Tangle’s new album is the self-titled debut record for Danny Harley, who burst into our ears in 2013 after he won a chance to perform at Falls Festival. It’s a bold move for Harley, after releasing just one EP ‘Vessel’ in 2014, to spend the past three-ish years working on a debut LP, but if there was ever an artist who had the chops to go straight into a debut album it would be him.

From the very first single we heard from Harley’s project, The Kite String Tangle has given off the aura of maturity while also imbuing his music with a boldness and innovative quality that eludes many producer/musicians. The Kite String Tangle brings together Harley’s excellent vocal ability, production skills and instrumental ability to create an inimitable style of music that many could only dream of creating.

At A Glance

Many producer musicians fall into the trap of creating records just for the sake of keeping alive the long form process, and end up with an album where four or five of the songs are virtually indistinguishable. This record bucks that trend with vigour, as the 11 songs on this record each show off contrasting side to The Kite String Tangle. His ability to bring together different instruments, samples, synths and of course his own vocals allows Danny Harley to take cues from a stack of different genres to craft this kaleidoscopic masterpiece, as well as an album that makes sense as a long form of work. His vocal ability means that he doesn’t have to feature different vocalists on every different song, and the common theme of his sultry and often beautifully understated vocals gives the record a common theme to follow.

The Best Song

There are so many amazing tracks on this record that show off varying sides to The Kite String Tangle’s persona, from the hard-hitting Selfish to the captivatingly glitchy Mistakes To Make, and plenty of emotive, harmony-driven slow-burners like Know By Now. But when it comes to the best track on the record it’s impossible to go past track number one, titled Waiting.

Waiting is the perfect example of how The Kite String Tangle is able to take bits and pieces of several genres to craft truly innovative music. The superb layering and textural changes in this track allows Harley to slowly start with an instrument and sample driven intro, including some subtle samples of his own vocals. Before you know it, a house bassline erupts into consciousness. It then fades into the background as Harley’s gorgeous vocals emerge from the mix as the spotlight dims onto his subtly emotive words.

Another track that demands a mention here is his collaboration with Gold Coast singer/producer Montgomery titled All I Need. While the production on this track is another amazing example of Harley’s ability to shine the spotlight on a vocal line, it’s the heart-tugging harmonies that he sings alongside Montgomery that really make this song shine.

The Worst Song

Such is the quality and diversity on this record that it is supremely difficult to designate a ‘worst song’. However the track Fickle Gods could, at a stretch, take out this title. The only justification for this however is that it is a slow burner that plays with his gorgeous countermelody that sits just beneath Harley’s vocals, and it really threatens to build into a massive drop (like the drop in Selfish) but the chorus doesn’t quite live up to the teasing.

Overall

Being an accomplished musician doesn’t always automatically guarantee and accomplished debut album, but The Kite String Tangle’s self-titled debut LP shows exactly why there was so much hype around Danny Harley’s new project four years ago. It’s a fantastic example of what a producer, instrumentalist and vocalist can achieve if they don’t rush a first long form project – and that an album can have a common theme and still be fantastically diverse. 

The Kite String Tangle's debut album is out now. Stream/buy here

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