Paging through the massive amounts of press that primarily hype and very rarely shed any insight into Nova Scotia act Kestrels would lead you to believe that the band had let its own hype get away from their actual recordings. A listen of their latest recorded effort, The Moon is Shining Our Way, only further muddies those waters. The band so explicitly draws on allegedly ’90s-only influences that it’s hard to parse what’s imitation and what’s innovation. The brief EP begins with “Eternal and Debased”, a track that very well could be a sly nod to the Pixies given its name.
It’s a catchy track, as are the four total songs that make up the EP. It’s the type of agreeable that is enough to write about but not enough to proclaim your love of to the high heavens. Kestrels have grown their sound into something far more cohesive, and a tighter group makes for tighter tracks. However, there’s just something lacking in all the ’90s nostalgia it exudes. At their best, they’re reminiscent of Silversun Pickups, as with eponymous track “The Moon is Shining Our Way.” The slightly droning song feels not at all weighed down by its power chords; rather the chords act as a solid backdrop for frontman Chad Peck to work his vocal magic in the type of yearning, crossover blend that feels as Warped Tour as it does coffee shop.
Kestrels released The Moon is Shining Our Way ultimately with their upcoming full-length in mind. It’s without doubt that the band has grown exponentially, which could easily mean that their next offering will finely tune Kestrels’ sound in the type of tweaking that takes a band from amateur to exciting. Every project has to start somewhere and they say that having a mentor, influence and inspiration is important. For Kestrels, this is one small touchstone for the band and one giant leap towards deciding on what to ultimately become.