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Illinois album review, dropping on Cinco de Mayo

Indie troupe Illinois moves between the topography of genres fluidly, scaling the ranges of electro-folk, bluesy rock, countrified hip-hop, and jazzy trance with the tenacity only a bevy of Pennsylvanian musicians assuming a geographical misnomer could muster. Their new LP Kid Cat Final Master, which has been released episodically, ferments the down home hop sensibility of tracks like “Nosebleed” from their EP What The Hell Do I Know? into a gloomier sonic aesthetic of orchestral grandeur and sexy slacker vocalization.

Though Illinois continues to churn out lyrical duds of the “If it’s space you need, consider my soul empty for good” nature, tracks such as “I Hate Love” reveal far more developed songwriting, particularly as the song blooms into “Hate and love should start a war and put on different uniforms.” Kid Cat Final Master opens with “Kid Catastrophe,” a song which perfectly establishes the album’s more mature tone, one less mishmash and more amplified genre conflation. Its next track, “Big Country,” belongs as much with two step as porch-top shucking. “Open Door” twinkles with folksy sweetness, while the smoky “She Don’t Look Like You” rains down in foggy gray jazz melancholia streaked with bright saxophone. By the time “She’s So Funny” rolls around, its heavy synth is just one more surprise to add to the grocery list of musical tricks up the band’s figurative sleeve.

Illinois never suffers the pitfall of genre crossing bands, identity crisis, because of its uncanny ability to mold varied stylings into a singular musical voice. With Kid Cat Final Master, Illinois has indeed mastered a more sophisticated, unique sound on their sophomore offering.

Stayed tuned next week for TSB’s coverage of the Illinois show May 5th at the Mercury Lounge in NYC and if you want a taste of the new album, here is the Kid Catastrophe track for download. Or just play it below!

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About TracyOneill Tracy is a freelance writer based out of Brooklyn obsessed with nutritional supplements, mediocre music, audacious (to put it politely) apparel, literary giants, and perfecting the fine art of the Sunday Bloody Mary.

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