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The Kingdom Flying Club
Sumatra Fox EP / Non-Fiction
Emergency Umbrella

A tasty 2004/2005 double offering here from one of those midwestern bands who'd flown under my radar up to now, but brightened up my day no end.

"Cut The Negatives", the first track on Sumatra Fox, bursts out of the speakers like a long-lost track from one of the mid-eighties "C86" bands from Britain - think Close Lobsters, Brilliant Corners, or early Wedding Present. The wistful refrain "She's six foot two and she's the queen of them all", followed by frenzied strumming, particularly echoes Weddoes' classics like "Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now?". It's a piece of jangle-pop brilliance that is unfortunately not quite matched by the rest of the EP, ranging from the distorted slack-rock of "Don't Call Me" to the almost Kinks-like, piano-led "Our Poetry".

Non-Fiction is a much more consistent listen, but nothing quite matches the heights of "Cut The Negatives". Still, there are many delights to be found within; The Kingdom Flying Club definitely know how to write a memorable tune or two, and back them up with some snappy instrumentation and lyrics that bear a second listen. A couple of my favourites are "Artists Are Boring", another piano-driven tale of unrequited love wherein the object of the singer's affection prefers to hang out with self-obsessed amateur musicians than with him, and the rockin' "Electromagnetic Daze", with hyper-strummed guitars reminiscent of The Feelies propelled along by an elastic bass line.

The Flying Club are part of the lively Columbia, Missouri Emergency Umbrella music collective that also includes The Doxies, Trebuchet and Paradise Vending, all well worth a listen. Based on these two CDs and a bit more touring, I think drummer Steve Davis, Jarrett Crader (bass/vocals/guitar), Matt O'Neill (piano/guitar/vocals) and lead gutarist / singer Nate Kesterson are going to come up with something even more special next time around.

-Gareth Bowles

Track listings:
Sumatra Fox EP
1. Cut the Negatives
2. Aristocrats
3. Our Poetry
4. Why I Hate Saturn
5 Don't Call Me

1. Hateshirt
2. Artists are Boring
3. Let's Dance !
4. Electromagneticdaze
5. Time is No Eraser
6. Simple Sense
7. Call and Call
8. Now We Watch the Luge (and Drink)
9. We're Nothing New
10. The Closer I Get
11. Down By the Lake
12. My Astrologer
13. Ambulance Window

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