Sometimes, great music is made in what is left out and not always what is kept in. It is the space the songs provide that give them a bite, like the silence before the jump scare in a horror movie, or the quiet reflection that follows after someone says something truly profound.
Boy Plus Kite plays with the space between the boy on the ground and the kite in the sky. I am not sure what the group’s name represents really, but I like to see it as a moment of radiant largeness. The boy, on the ground, can see very little. His world is small, refined, and incredibly naïve. The kite, on the other hand, can see it all. The boy can interact with the world only through the small string linking the boy to the kite. Indirectly and passively, he can see it all. And he can admire the world through the wonder of this kite in the sky.
The group’s debut album, Go Fly, was a rough-around-the-edges indie rock sound, personably alienating in its abrasive production and Darvin Jones vocal ticks and washed out style. Blueprint is a three song release from the group following their 2011 debut. Opening track ‘Either Way’ is an eerie though downtuned track that skims tension. There is this impressionable duality between happy and sad that sounds like a revamped Dinosaur Jr. Welcome back to you repeats Jones as the song closes in sullen reflection. ‘Turned Sideways’ has a much larger energy about it. The cascading water-like hook prettily and loftily holds the structure of the song together. It sounds like a celebration of a small victory. It is not the big synthpop hooks that are beating the market right now. This is a pop hook on Ambien. It is quiet, thoughtful, ever pressing to ask the big questions without just relishing in incomprehensible words that just ‘sound fitting.’ The percussion work that closes the track is wonderfully engaging, a Manchester Orchestra styled arrangement with that repeated pace and floating refrain.
Blueprint released in the aftermath of vocalist and lead guitarist Darvin Jones and a massive head injury he sustained in late 2013. Massive is a bit of an understatement. The man is lucky to be alive, and that euphoric dance with death led to a collective resurgence and rebranding of what Boy Plus Kite is all about. In 2014, the band’s slowing down and attention to precision and space has left to some of the best tracks of their career. But better yet, there is a camaraderie and friendship that supercedes the songs, while also channeling the songs to a greater level of wonder.