Highlights: Sleeping Colony, Dead Letter Office, Volunteer
King’s Daughters & Sons might well be the quirky modern idea of a supergroup, for this Kentucky-based indie-folk/slowcore project consists of members of a bunch of contemporary bands. But those are way too obscure to mention. Also, if you are familiar with bands like Shipping News, chances are you won’t really be bothered with this review in the first place.
The music contained here is slightly Low-esque, but with significantly rougher edges. These are gorgeous yet complex ballads full of dark, ominous undertones (courtesy of the somber lyrics and equally bleak mood). Instrumentally, If Then Not When is impressive. The opening “Sleeping Colony” is this sinister, pretty little tune, but the ecstatic piano chords and gruff guitar tones of the second part elevate the whole thing to a near-monumental level (the same winning formula applies to most of these songs). Beautiful acoustic guitars of the slow burning epic “The Anniversary”, the heartfelt female vocals of the exquisite “Arc Of The Absentee”, the celestial yet sinister harmonies of the closing “Open Sky”, it all makes for a compelling, engaging listen.
A well-executed collection of dark, desperate ballads that unfurl like half-forgotten, but well-written short stories. If Then Not When is a fine mix of gothic atmosphere and obscure, but inescapable emotional substance. King’s Daughters & Sons sound tight, confident, and adventurous – so maybe they are a supergroup after all.