With summer in full swing, now is inevitably the time for a new indie-pop-rock band to release a single that will become the anthem for every sunbaked high school road trip and beach day. Yet while a catchy single can elevate a group to the level of mainstream ubiquity, one song is quickly overplayed, and over the past couple summers I heard the same songs from bands like Walk The Moon and Foster The People so many times that I wanted to rip my hair out any time I turned on the radio. So when I first listened to the new single released by Kid Astray “The Mess” and learned that it was topping charts on stations like Sirius XM’s Alt Nation, I was cautious with my enthusiasm, sensing the dreaded “Pumped Up Kicks” syndrome.
I am happy to announce that you can set those fears aside, because with their debut EP, aptly titled Easily Led Astray (full stream below), Kid Astray has successfully created an album that is not wholly supported by its single. This is an issue many bands encounter when they rapidly gain popularity, and it can ruin an album for me. While tirelessly exuberant guitar riffs lend some substance to songs like “Like You Care” and “Hey Sister”, upbeat keyboard melodies and breezy 80’s synths make sure everything stays playful and danceable. With this EP, Kid Astray has created something that is both unique and comfortingly familiar, and you never get the feeling this young group is unsure of their sound. All of the songs on the album fit well together, and the ambient synth transition from “the Best of Us” to “The Mess” is close to perfection. “All Alone We’ll Be Just Fine” concludes the EP on a mellow note, with the lofty vocals and passionate harmonies. Seeing as the six members of Kid Astray are barely out of high school Easily Led Astray is a very solid first effort, and they will have plenty of time in the future to add polish and refine their sound.