Interestingly enough, Identikit introduce themselves through their first names only – at least from what I gathered – so here we go, in rigorous alphabetical order: Archie (bass, vocal), Bobby (drums, percussion), Britta (violin, backing vocal), Grace (clarinet), Justin (grand piano, synthesizer, Hammond organ, melodica) and Ryan (tenor and alto saxophones, clarinet, vocal). They’re young, but play like they have been together for 40 years or so; namely, with eyes closed. And, listen to me, most of what they execute is not exactly encouraging a conventional foot-tapping response.
Indeed the impression as the opening track “Stargaze” began was that of a rapid switching between radio stations: harmonic and rhythmic u-turns, cut-and-jump-elsewhere passages, a constant shifting of perspective with the addition of several brain-relieving openings. A common trait among the above characteristics is the musicianship, which is – in case you still haven’t understood – of a very high calibre. These heads work at uncommon speeds, one can immediately feel it.
A plethora of genres is courted, impregnated, and then left without a parent by the band. Archie describes the whole as “eclectic music drawing from klezmer, prog metal, latin jazz, hip hop, and much more”; he’s not too far away from the truth, especially in regard to klezmer – think it like performed by a Dixie Dregs offshoot, though. Irony is also a primary feature, including titles and lyrics (I didn’t really deepen them but something emerges anyway, like it or not). There’s a lot of speedy/complicated stuff that nevertheless comprises distinct melodic designs, whereas “Arrested In Amber” is an out-and-out ballad that, for some reason, I would like to be covered by Tom Waits.
Nothing else. This debut album, following a couple of EPs published in 2017, is definitely worthy of being enjoyed at good volume. It’s bouncy, quick-witted, technically impressive and unpretentious.