kermes

Kermes describe themselves as ‘captivating’ and ‘sparkling’, and as someone who wants to write about bands for a living it’s comforting to find one that does the job for you. In the glitter-covered and very pink cassette that this Leicester lot have just put out are five fizzing and fun tunes that they purposely put out to help people like them: young, dumb and gender-fucked.

Despite what was just said though, the exact sound of Kermes’ music is hard to describe: taking influence from almost every rock band Britain has coughed up in the past fifteen years, it veers from rushed, low-key indie rock to earnest emo pop to dreamy alt-rock. Every song is put together purposefully and with care, knowing exactly what it wants to do.

Here’ is the upbeat opener, going straight in with Emily Teese’s flat vocals that yelp into the higher register along with the squeaking guitar lines for the refrain. The lyrical imagery is rich, based on the title of the whole EP, about the notion of ‘performing’ gender. ‘Radical Acts’ continues this line: ‘if it looks accidental, it’s gotta be accidental’. Floaty, spacey guitars keep the song aloft before it feels the need to crash down for the last third, amped-up distortion and screamed vocals pleading to ‘be your own girl, be your own woman’.

(I’m Gonna) Give You the Gun’ follows a similar layout to ‘Radical Acts’, but is more tense, based on buzzing bass and a constant drum beat, building to a crescendo of repeated mantras and scratched fretboards. ‘Holy Mother Star’ lifts to a beautiful ending of a ghostly choir and delicate chords.

Closing track ‘Epitaph’ is the best song off the EP, opening with a buzzsaw riff reminiscent of all the underground 00s British alt-rock bands you forgot about (Flood of Red? Hundred Reasons?) that just feels important. The chorus is simply pretty, seeing Emily’s vocals fit perfectly with the back-up harmonies, making you realise just how much her flat voice has been complimenting the melodies throughout the EP. The track closes spectacularly with uplifting twin guitar solos straight out of a fucking Thin Lizzy song that contrasts well with the songs otherwise downbeat mood.

You See Others Seeing You’ is a special document of musical catharsis, both for the creators and the listeners. Kermes are a band longing to please, to be treasured. On the stage Emily jumps around and poses to emphasise that she means every word she sings and every note she plays. With just five songs she’s managed to document a great deal of the gender experience, and she will go on to pen a lot more.

About The Author

Lee Whear

Young punk full of love, hoping they've got enough tobacco left when the revolution comes. Canterbury Christchurch University graduate, previous work has appeared in thnksfrthrvrw, Hitsville U.K., Bearded Magazine, and God Is In The TV Zine.