If the last single, Fever Dream, showed that Kicking Edgar was great at the genre-hopping, funk-punk, psych-a-rama, Speculation shows that the band are equally as good with the foot-on-the-monitor, straight-out, alt-rocker. Not that there isn’t a decent amount of their trademark groove working its magic in the back of the song, especially in the consistently inventive and wonderfully fluid basslines that help maintain melodics and energy levels, not to mention the squealing, squalling guitar work, which often seems to be off somewhere tripping to its inner voice, dancing to the beat of its own drum. It’s just that this is alternative rock in the more conventional sense…if indeed the idea of there being a conventional alternative is not actually an oxymoron.
If Fever Dream spiraled and spun, Speculation wanders along some more direct routes. The vocals are staccato salvos of barked brilliance; the twin guitars build both striking and subtle sonic architecture, and the rhythm section is often found to the fore. As much interested in melodics as beat, not entirely lead instruments in their own right but certainly much more than the mere engine room of rock and roll tradition.
Not everything has to be about trying to change the course of rock and roll. Sometimes it is about accepting that rock music has found something close to a final perfect form:accept that an then just playing with that template is often all you need to do. The result is a track that is both fresh and of the here-and-now but which also ticks all the right boxes for the established rock and roll fraternity.
Every now and then, it is worth taking the old sonic vehicle out of the garage, oiling it up and taking it for a spin around the block just to ensure everything is still in full working order. This is precisely what Kicking Edgar is doing here. The fact that they also manage to burn a few tyre marks onto the road and wake up the neighbours in the process is just a bonus. The genre (although I still don’t know exactly where you would place them on the Venn Diagram of musical influences and sonic infusions), it would seem, is in very safe hands.