The year was 2002. I was 12 years old. My older brother was fairly obsessed with the novels of Anne Rice – and so naturally I needed to know what they were all about. March saw the Australian release of Queen of The Damned – and of course my brother watched it. It wasn’t until many years later that I actually saw it (I probably wasn’t allowed – I was only 12) but my brother gave me the official soundtrack – and told me specifically to listen to “Before I’m Dead” by Kidneythieves. And that my friends is how my love for Kidneythieves began.
The year was 2015. Kidneythieves announced that they would be funding their next full-length album through Kickstarter. As soon as I heard, you bet I got in on that. I needed another Kidneythieves fix – 6 year is too long between releases – and so I pre-ordered my copy and the waiting game began.
The year is 2016. The month September. And here I am with Kidneythieves The Mend sitting in my inbox. Excited would be an understatement. I didn’t even know if I was ready for this record. The description on Kickstarter promised big things. It promoted the “powerful exchange of love and music.” This was to be not the end, but the mend. The album itself was to be a powerful think-piece, with themes inspired by “the current state of the world, the broken systems around us that we need to fix.” That is some heavy hitting subject matter. Is anyone really ready for that?
Ready or not it is impossible to hide from the problems of the world. Whether they be huge world-wide issues, or personal issues within yourself – hiding is not the answer. The Mend is a solution. It brings to the forefront the problems we face – but also a reminder that we all possess the compassion to heal.
As always the combination of instrumentalist Bruce Somers’ industrial and rock influences along with vocalist Free Dominguez’s fondness of hip-hop and trip-hop shine through creating yet another great sounding Kidneythieves record. “Migration” is probably the best amalgamation of the genres with the trip-hop beats blasting from the get go as the industrial sounds literally cut through.
Opening the latest offering from Kidneythieves is “Fist Up”. While it is fairly claustrophobic, listing all the things people worry and think about – it compels people to get up and do something. You can’t expect things to change if you aren’t prepared to put anything into action. The Mend manages to remain positive, despite its insistence on outlining what is wrong with the world. I guess that’s the point though. Point out what is wrong – but remind us that we have the ability to fix it. Won’t get far with a negative attitude.
This of course is the general theme of The Mend. No matter the scale of the problem – whether it is battling social media vs reality and trying to discover yourself (Who You Are) – or trying to find love but realise you have lost yourself in the process (Codependent Song) – or maybe you just want to escape and ignore what is happening in the world around you (Kushcloud) – or it’s facing the reality that you have no choice but to leave the only home you know (Migration) – or a call to have people realise that we are all equal and should be treated as such (Let Freedom Ring); each song details the problem, but sends a positive message on how we can fix ourselves, and in turn help each other heal the world.
The Mend is the album we all need right now. Every day we hear about a new act of terrorism, violence, racism, sexism, inequality, hate. We all need to remember to love. We need to literally mend. The Mend reminds us of this. Kidneythieves have pointed out our flaws, but also have shown a way to change. If listening to this record helps you realise that you are perfect the way you are, or that you don’t need someone else to validate you or even just gets you talking about the issues of the world – it has done its job.
The Mend is an album full of thought provoking tracks wrapped up in a rocking industrial/hip-hop package. And it shouldn’t be looked over.