Anchored, withered, torn up; all these feelings crash together in the opening guitar riffs of the Nova Scotia band Kestrels‘ newest single, ‘Vanishing Point’. Relationships come and go, and even as we all grow into adults, there are times when we have to leave them. For many of us, this is a painful lesson we all have to learn time and time again.
Kestrels’ latest addition to the indie rock scene is not all rock riffs and youthful angst. ‘Vanishing Point’ stops at nothing to make you challenge those raw emotions – and take control of them. It is a mission Kestrels have been eager to drive home since their conception in 2008. Offstage, frontman and guitarist Chad Peck spends his working life as a high school English teacher. Working alongside experienced livewire legend Michael Catano, it’s hard to believe Peck wrote ‘Vanishing Point’ while couch surfing at Tim Wheeler’s, of Ash fame – yet clearly, this situation gave Peck the freedom needed to experiment.
Discussing the creative process of the track, Peck explained: “I liked the idea of the record opening with the band kicking in with this intense and hypnotic riff, as opposed to a synth overture or a bunch of sound effects. This is a song where John Agnello took out some of the layered rhythm guitars to open the song up, and jump out of the speakers.”
Inspired by David Markson’s book of the same name, ‘Vanishing Point’ proves precisely what a gambit soaked with phasers, varied spring reverb, and ambient drift can achieve. Drenched with modern rock post-nineties influences – Superchunk, My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr to name a few – each instrument has its own identity in the piece. Impressively, a Leslie has been used to embolden emotive, vulnerable vocals; a rare tactic within the genre, and one that pays off remarkably well. All of these lead Kestrels to construct an impressive instrumental scaffolding, reminiscent of teenage days spent in the mosh pits at a Manic Street Preachers concert.
‘Vanishing Point’ is not only an anthem for the wounded; it is also a map for listeners who feel lost in their emotions. After all, feelings are a tricky business no matter your age. Lyrically speaking, ‘Vanishing Point’ speaks candidly about the pain of living through – and remembering – dying relationships. From the singer’s perspective, oscillating emotions reign supreme during the break-up process. On one hand they openly claim they want “to hide” away, symbolising their desire to move on. However, they also state “I don’t want to lie.” This highlights the conflicts that run parallel with walking away, yet being true to your feelings.
Kestrel’s ‘Vanishing Point’ is an open record, encouraging listeners to be open about their flaws. No matter how chaotic or distorted their thinking may be, this track gives listeners the space and permission to finally let go; an empowering move which, when combined with vulnerability, serves a timely lesson. ‘Vanishing Point’ is a raucous, scamp of a song, which provides a solid soundscape for listeners to explore at their leisure. Anthemic, embroidered with walls of sound, the first set of notes encourage you to sit down and reflect upon the relationships of boyfriends or girlfriends past. Novices to the rock genre may flinch at the first tearing note, as it really does hit you in the gut; still, once the listener is saddled in, ‘Vanishing Point’ provides an effortless ride.
Words by April Ryan
Image by Darla Records