Kidsmoke · Layla’s Love
Last year was a momentum building year for the rapidly rising, Wrexham, Wales, UK-based indie act Kidsmoke — Lance Williams (vocals, guitar), James Stickels (bass, vocals), Sophie Ballamy (guitar, vocals) and Ash Turner (drums): they played at FOCUS Wales Festival‘s SXSW showcase. “Passenger” landed on NPR’s Austin 100 Playlist — and has since been featured on E4’s Made in Chelsea along with “Rising Sun.” Additionally, “Take Me to the River” appeared in Netflix’s hit series Black Mirror.
Continuing on the momentum of last year, the band recently signed to Libertino Records, who released the band’s first single of this year, “The Bluest You,” which I wrote about last month. Centered around swirling layers of shimmering guitars, a propulsive rhythm section, a rousingly arena friendly hook and Williams’ plaintive falsetto, “The Bluest You” found the band crafting a song that possessed elements of dream pop, shoegaze and Brit pop with earnest yet ambitious songwriting — all while being a somber meditation of how mental health issues can impact the person suffering from them, and their loved ones.
“Layla’s Love,” the Welsh act’s latest single is a deliberately crafted yet upbeat guitar pop confection centered around shimmering guitars, a soaring hook and pretty boy-girl harmonies — and while bringing JOVM mainstays Husky and countless others to mind, the song features a narrator, looking back at a recent relationship with a series of “what ifs” about themselves, their actions and the relationship. But as the song ends, the song’s narrator comes to terms with the fact that the relationship has taught them about themselves — and has made them a much better person, which is something they can never lose.
“I’m a big fan of Prefab Sprout and love the way they utilise the male/female vocals; a dream-like section, when the main character is having an imaginary conversation with ‘Layla’ is my favourite moment on the album,” the band’s Lance Williams says in press notes. Kidsmoke’s Sophie Bellamy adds “Layla’s Love’ took a little longer to come together than some of our other tracks. We were being pretty ambitious with the arrangement in the studio and wanted to make sure we got it perfect, as we knew it would be worth it if we nailed it.”
“The Bluest You” and “Layla’s Love” will appear on the Welsh act’s soon-to-be released full-length debut, A Vision in the Dark slated for a June 19, 2020 release.