First Look: Can Kicker

Hometown: Cardiff, Wales
Album: Self-titled, out now via Drunken Sailor Records

RIYL: Abandoned Church. Dissociation. Freedom.

One of my favorite childhood venues was a converted old single-screen movie theater that kept the popcorn maker and shitty underfoot ambient lighting. The acoustics were better than you’d expect, and the bathrooms were just as dirty as you’re imagining. It was a mixture of class and crap that was the perfect place to hear regional punk and hardcore bands before they made it bigger. Incidentally, it’s where I got to see The All-American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, Motion City Soundtrack, and Northstar, though I can also imagine a band like Can Kicker coming in and blowing my ever-loving innocent mind. This Welsh band have a sound that practically screams “angry music in an old building,” and that’s truer than I realized. It’s a blend of hardcore punk, post-punk, goth, and is that outlaw country? It’s more pissed than a drunk at Buffalo Wild Wings watching their team lose, but much more inviting. There’s a real sense of existential angst and ache amid the siren-song leads and Luke Penny’s exuberant voice.

So about that abandoned vibe? It’s not an accident, as Penny notes:

“The creative spark was my desire to write music which was not limited to a strict idea of genre. Basically, I wanted to do a band which would reflect my ideas and not be limited by any presupposed ones. Yes it’s punk, but that’s what I know. The uniting force is twofold – a group who have an overlapping love for punk, goth, country, and experimental, as well as our practice space: a converted church known as Inkspot. It’s cavernous, cold, dark. We practice lit by stained glass. I think it gets into the music.”

On the record’s blend of darkness and silver linings:

“I wanted to talk about the broad feelings of alienation, loneliness, and despair I think we can all feel in our current time. Trying to be a human in a world which makes being human harder every day. The experience of that – the disassociation, the disconnection. Living in a sterilized world. Day to day, I’m quite a joyous person; Can Kicker is how I feel when that joy dissipates, and I experience the coldness of disconnection. I feel that’s worth sharing because maybe it can provide connection for those who feel the same.”

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