New Band of the Week: Kite Thief

Allow your musical senses to soar with the bouncy, thrilling sound of Bristol band Kite Thief. The band describe their brand of alternative rock meets prog metal Gutter Candy Metal – “sweet and full of grit, like dropping your favourite candy in the gutter and still wanting to put it in your mouth.”

The quintet of Elin Allan (vox), Max Harris and Josh Bailey (guitars), Henry Stone (bass) and Zac Lever (drums) first met while studying music at university. They initially formed to audition for a live showcase, for which they played a version of Play by Marmozets, for which they of course got picked to play the show.

As Henry told us: “I’m pretty sure we all thought it would be a one off thing. We’d play the show, have a good time, and continue with our individual lives. But something just felt right during that first performance. It all just seemed to click. In the end we thought, why not give this a go?”

Our latest taste of the Kite Thief sound is brand new single Sweepstake, which was released on Friday (26 February) and epitomises their sound of fat riffs, ballsy rhythms and engaging vocals. The first draft of the song was written about a year ago, after which the pandemic hit and they were forced to confer and collaborate on the track over Zoom calls. They eventually worked with Dan Pugsley, of Skindred, and producer Joe Marsh, who took the song to a new level.

The track opens up with light instrumentals that drop into powerful guitar chords with a funky stabbing synth in the background. Elin’s engaging vocals take over, with building instrumental support and flows into a huge chorus “Take me, Take my body, You can use me, But give me money, Take me, Take my body, You can use me but give me legacy.”

A second verse and chorus flow into building instrumentals, a quick rendition of the verse vocals, then a section of . A spinning guitar riff gives way to big guitar chords then a funky little spinning riff and heavy bass, which drops into light, high-pitched vocals. A big wall of guitars and driving drums kicks in before a big rocky, synthy outro.

On the track, Henry told us: “The inspiration came from feeling the need to drop our usual obsessing over every detail before a song’s even written. We were just like right, let’s try a new technique where we just write whatever we like and don’t overthink it. We ended up having the main structure down in ten minutes, it’s easy enough! And surprisingly, we all loved it.”

“People should expect a bit of a slap in the face with this tune. We’ve got hard hitting riffs, provocative lyrics and unexpected twists and turns throughout the music. We have never been more proud of a song, and that is evident as soon as you take a listen to the tune. It makes you wanna jump, dance, be angry and excited all at once.” Check it out in the dishy video here:

Our first taste of Kite Thief was the filthy, absolutely moreish bouncy intro to Pictures, which was released in October. It kicks off with a huge darting, bouncing riff over a big cry from Elin, which drops into a light verse supported by dreamy guitars and a little chugging bass. Another bouncing riff jumps in as the vocals intensify and flow into a big singalong chorus. A second chorus gives way to rolling drums and drawn out guitar chords then a stabbing riff, which eventually flows into another bouncy riff and big doomy cymbals that build up to a final engaging chorus. Check it out in the video here:

There’s more of the same with the feisty Smile & Wave and Kite Thief’s excellent debut single Pinky Promise, which opens up with a lively, vicious riff. Stabbing guitars continue under Elin’s catchy vocals, which flow into the hugely catchy chorus “So charming, that dirty little creature, Hard to see those horns under the charisma, It’s hard to breathe, He’s got you with a whisper, Gained all your trust just to exploit it.”

It flows straight into a second verse that begins with the lines “What did you really think would happen? Was I the one who spoiled your fun? Did you think a pinky promise would work on me?” A chunkier riff kicks in under delicious high-pitched vocals and feeds into another catchy chorus. That gives way to a funky bassline, which continues Elin’s high-pitched cries then driving guitars and drums build up to a final blast of the chorus. Check it out in the video below, in which we have to give kudos to Elin for rocking classic Adidas popper pants:

Kite Thief’s members predominantly take influence from the likes of Dream State, Tonight Alive, Bring Me The Horizon and Karnivool. But, as Henry explains, they harness a wide range of influences: “We all bring a lot of different flavours, our influences range from Britney Spears to Periphery. It’s a hodgepodge of genres!”

And on what inspires them to write music, he adds: “The songs usually materialize when the wizard monkeys periodically take over the guitarists’ minds. We joke, of course. However, most of the time, it starts with a riff, or a melody that gets turned into a riff, and we build from there. It may look like Josh and Max are the same person but, as a five-piece, we are all individual and we each bring something different to the table when writing, which I think makes our sound more unique.

“The lyrical and melodic content is pretty much all done by Elin, most of the time the lyrics are inspired by feminism, capitalism, patriarchal hegemony and just general ‘I am pissed off at the world’-ness.”

There’s plenty more to come from Kite Thief, including some studio sessions for when things begin to get back to normal so expect more music and supporting content from the band, even if the restriction lifts take longer than expected.

As Henry explains: “We’ve planned some contingencies for how to record when we are all stuck inside, so things are looking hopeful! With the advent of zoomyzooming and some developing knowledge of recording, Covid is becoming less of a barrier to our productivity. So we’ll be continuing to workshop our current songs, trimming the fat and polishing the odd turd. 

“Though we miss our gigging lives, being forced to collaborate online has actually opened up the door for some creativity that we would not have honed in on pre-covid. We have some ‘Lockdown One Take Live Sessions’ coming, as well as some fun behind the scenes videos and interviews regarding the making of Sweepstake!”

Kite Thief deliver a vicious yet catchy progressive metal sound that hypnotises you with its engaging melodies one second and slaps you round the face with its powerful riffs and hard-hitting rhythms the next. It’s absolutely the dirty candy that you can’t resist picking up off the floor and chewing away on. And, if any breakfast spread marketers are listening in, Henry has a special message: “If anyone’s got a link to get us sponsored by Nutella, hmu.”

You can follow Kite Thief on Facebook and Instagram, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Deezer and YouTube.

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