Hidden Lakes contributes its birth to an old black and white photograph and a breakup of a previous band. The photo was a picture of frontman Kory Kunze's grandfather with his mother and aunt when they were children, standing in front of his airplane. "I was feeling nostalgic, both from a family perspective and from a music perspective. My previous band, Fractured Army, was on hiatus and I had a lot of ideas spinning. I was infatuated with the story of my late grandfather, and how he loved to fly, and how he won his airplane in a stove sales contest, of all things. I was also listening to a lot of my favorite albums that I hadn't listened to in quite awhile, like Wilco's Summerteeth and Son Volt's Trace, and I wanted to bring folk instruments back into my music." Kunze recruited his wife, Holly, into the fold and they started laying down the basic tracks to their debut album, Model Airplanes. "I pitched the idea to Rod (Campbell) and Jessica (Spitzer) (former bassist and keyboardist from Fractured Army) that I wanted to form a group that combined a live stripped-down drum kit over electronic beats, keyboards, kaossilators, horns, banjo, mandolin, lap steel, acoustic and electric guitars, all handled by the four of us. On the surface, it sounded like a complete mess, but fortunately they were game to try it." The result was a surprisingly cohesive sound, and if you are a fan of indie pop groups like Broken Social Scene, The Raveonettes, The XX, Cut Copy, or Sufjan Stevens, there is something here for you.
Christian Schaefer - Riverfront Times
The music these couples make together shows a charming pop naiveté; the band doesn't always keep strict adherence to the drum machine's rhythm, but these types of songs don't demand lock-step precision and are better for the little bits of C86 roughness.
At times, the band's '80s synth-pop jones takes it to comfortably familiar places; the mid-album standout "At the Show Last Night" has both the guitar fury and the glossy keyboard strings of early New Order. The instrumental interludes that pepper this release hit a little harder and show a more modern ear for synthesis and programming ("Aspect Ratio" in particular), however fleeting the tracks may be. But few bands can go from clicky arpeggios to bare banjo-driven songs, and Hidden Lakes rides this dichotomy throughout the disc. The title track is the best mix of these seemingly disparate sources, where a spare drum-machine beat keeps time for plangent acoustic guitar strums and weepy lap steel. As a duet for the Kunzes, the song also serves as a pretty sweet declaration of love and fidelity. Marital fidelity is all well and good, but the band is sonically promiscuous, as the fuzzy, buzzy summertime anthem "Respite" suggests.
Nelda Kerr - Eleven Magazine
“Model Airplanes” is the perfect title for Hidden Lakes’ debut album. Its 14 tracks are individual figurines, painted meticulously in varying colors and styles. In this way, the album moves through various genres, channeling Broken Social Scene on one track, Cut Copy on the next. These quick cuts across soundscapes are a credit to songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kory Kunze. Reverb-laden electric guitars are lightened when he switches to banjo or lap steel. Synths and Kaossilators take over on “Carthage Flying Club” and “Aspect Ratio”. The trumpet on “Arrival” and “All the Files and the Paperwork” is so clean, it lifts these songs with it. Each instrumental contribution is enhjanced by exceptional post-production from Saff Mastering (Chicago).
This album is tied together with simple melodies and lyrics. It is tight, direct, and unapologetic. Still, it can be sporadic, constantly drawing one’s mind across a map of influences. Hidden Lakes attempt to strip their music limits. This makes it hard for the listener to cling to a sense of identity for the album or the band. At times Model Airplanes feels like a time capsule attempting to collect special selections from the canon of indie music. The album art, created by Sleepy Kitty captures the spirit well: a flight through a classical landscape turned on its side.
Mary Beth Hascall - Playback
Hidden Lakes have put together an unusual mixture of sounds and melodies with a lot of guts and heart.
Many bands have difficulty creating a cohesive sound for their listeners to carefully digest and then pigeonhole on their iPod. Model Airplanes, the freshman album by Hidden Lakes, has faced this issue and tossed their worries into the wind, no pun intended. Model Airplanes darts from acoustic folk, indie rock, synth, alt-rock, and to even some, electronic music. Given all the genres at play here, Hidden Lakes has managed to create a well-blended album. To prove the point that the songs work in this genre-shifting record, listen to just the instrumental tracks together. Brilliant, right?
Kory Kunze, lead vocalist/guitarist, put together the St. Louis band when his group Fractured Army went on hiatus. Looking to build a new sound with strong melodies and few barriers, Kunze enlisted the help of his wife Holly on vocals and percussion. Former Fractured Army bassist Rod Campbell and keyboardist Jessica Spitzer rose to the challenge, and round out the group with their strong skills.
Model Airplanes is framed by opening track “Departure” and album closer “Arrival.” Both are lush, instrumental tracks filled with the sonic qualities of liftoff, flight, and stewardess cautions to return to our seat.
Among the standouts is the short “Unfinished Basement,” which gives the listener a taste of horns and mandolin among references to faded photos and memories of things left undone. This theme slides into “The Runner,” which keeps the rhythm of a runner’s foot strike while the lyrics showcase Kunze’s ability to capture the feeling of the passerby, and rehashing the personal what-ifs in life. The mood is lifted again by the self-titled track, with its Wilco-inspired steel guitars and beautiful melodies.
Hidden Lakes have put together an unusual mixture of sounds and melodies with a lot of guts and heart. Model Airplanes is a strong debut record well worth the listen. A- | Mary Beth Hascall
released 01 March 2012
Kory Kunze - Vocals, Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Lap Steel, Keyboards, Kaossilator
Holly Kunze - Vocals, Percussion
Rod Campbell - Bass
Jessica Spitzer - Keyboards
Guest, Drew Patterson - Trumpet
Recorded at The Unfinished Basement in St. Louis, MO
Mastered by Saff Mastering, Chicago, IL
Artwork by Sleepy Kitty Arts, St. Louis, MO
Band Photography by Kenny Williamson, RKN Photo
all rights reserved
feeds for ,