There is a wistful childhood story of The Kite-Eating Tree’s guitarist and vocalist Mike Hunter that can best exemplify how commanding and striking this release is. The nostalgic story is based around the advice and guidance Hunter’s uncle gave him on that apprehensive first day of school. I assume nearly everyone can relate to the nervous, uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach the eve of attending a new school or starting a new grade. Our parents or guardians all give us some sort of guidance and reassurance that everything will be fine, but Hunter’s uncle had some out of the ordinary advice to give.
His uncle’s masculine advice was to go up to the biggest, most dominant kid in the class and punch him right in the face. Punch him so hard that the poor bastard drops to the floor. The reason: nobody is going to mess with you and you will have earned yourself oceans of respect. That’s exactly the type of craze and power Method: Fail, Repeat delivers. From the first post-hardcore sounds of the guitars crashing and the bass lines pounding on the opening track, “Softer Seems the Pavement”; The Kite-Eating Tree bursts through with commanding authority.
It is a powerful album boasting extremely sharp and intellectually moving lyrics and songwriting. None of the songs on the album have anything to do with failed romances or the girl who you’ve been pining over. This album is much deeper and genuine; with lyrics that travel deep inside a certain mindset.
Hunter and The Kite-Eating Tree squeeze out and articulate their thoughts with social observations on tracks like, “Lucifer Employed” and “Hollywood Hates You.” The lyrics on the earlier track really echo a social cry; “Flowin’ out via pins and needles / little by little found a way to suck you dry / can’t hear a reason from dome or steeple to let one leave alive.” He also cuts himself wide open on the sensitive track “Save Your Stares for Strays.” This track documents his delicate experience while pushing his wife’s wheelchair. The lyrics insinuate the pain and suffering in a certain optimistic way, “Through every stare / she’ll walk right on / keep your cares / she’ll still shine on / I’ll keep my swallowed fears / next to yours they taste like champagne / as long as no one moves / I’ll lie and look at you we’re OK.”
The Kite-Eating Tree manages to open more than their minds, in process, lets everything flow through Method: Fail, Repeat. The concept is refreshing in terms of the lyrical style and bass-driven music that complements it. This album just hurdles over anything in terms of substance, musical variety and range.
(Cowboy Versus Sailor / Suburban Home Records)