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Handshakes for Bullets - track by track with Kinesis


Story: Jack Foley

WHAT follows is a track-by-track guide to Kinesis's debut LP, Handshake For Bullets. The commentary comes from Conor McGloin (Guitar) and Tom Marshall (bass).

One Way Mirror - Unlike most of the tracks on the LP, One Way Mirror was recorded well into the sessions for the LP. Dave Eringa (producer) heard the riff whilst we were messing around between takes of another song and insisted that we do something with it. Lo and behold we had the first track for the LP, complete with a scathing set of lyrics

Billboard Beauty - We were driving through Bolton on a Saturday night watching the people going about all dressed up in what they consider to be a vision of beauty and came to the rapid conclusion that it was completely false. We live in a world constantly emphasising the ‘right’ things to wear, say, do and this is a contradiction of all that represents. And a criticism too for that matter.

Civilised Fury - Somewhere between the frustration of the bedroom and the desire for a youthful revolution is where you will find the meaning of this one. Michael wrote the anthemic violin line meaning that we had to add a string quartet to our “angry” debut LP which had never been in the plot at all. But it worked.

Bloodstained Lips - Definitely one of the most pessimistic tracks on the LP. There’s a war memorial in Bolton that we lifted the ‘undying memory’ lyric from. The dead, however, will be forgotten. The whole idea of being lured into a sedentary lifestyle is in here, the growth of ignorance as to what’s really going on.

This Dead End - This is where we are from. The weekend in Northern England: Thursday to Sunday go out and get wasted, go to a club and find someone to fuck that you wouldn’t fuck if you were sober. We always found the idea of most dance music lyrics really funny or sad, the whole idea of ‘being free’ and ‘reaching for the stars’ on a Saturday then being back behind your desk on Monday morning. Not really for us to be fair….

Conveyor Belt Destruction - This started life when I (Tom) worked in a factory. It was an eye opener to realise that most of the people who worked there were resigned to that being their life. They may have dreamed of Hollywood and riches and ideal love but they knew TV and the pub was all that they were going to have.

…And They Obey - Racism really but more than that. We find the way that lies become truth in the modern mainstream media a truly worrying thing. The lyric, ,'Germany wasn’t that far away', is a sideways swipe at how the media operate in a sense as the Nazis did, silencing dissent and alternative voices by parody or simply by not giving them the oxygen of publicity. Groups like the Zapatistas are an inspiration to us because they show that it is still possible to lead a dignified fight against oppression. For us, what happened with the response of the Pakistani community to last year’s race riots in the North West was also an inspiration.

(Cling to Your) Innocence - The melodic one! It’s about respecting individuality as much as Billboard is about those who give in to peer group pressure. The mass culture comes in for more venom, as far as we are concerned it’s a cancer eating at the heart of society. Anyone that flies in the face of conventions is worth our time.

Forever Reeling - Our way of proving we are not just a ‘political’ band. After our first few singles we were pinned as 'angry young left wing punk band' (which is another reason to hate the way the media works!) so this was a much more personal approach. It came from the idea of euthanasia which was big news at the time and the fear of not having control over your own life but with a tune that is very energetic. We like that contradiction, that may well be what the band thrives on.

Average American Corpse - We took the title from Martin Amis’ Money in which the central character’s excessive lifestyle leaves him with teeth as bad as the 'average American corpse'. The neo-imperialism of the USA is at the centre of this and the stupidity of more countries and cultures being subsumed by a nation obese due to fast food, with increasingly high murder rates but pro-gun lobbies rampant, a consumerist mess that we are all falling into. And no, it has nothing to do with 9/11, in fact it was first demoed before the event.

Everything Destroys Itself - Our second indie single. We had various people saying that a ‘single’ track would help get us a deal so we decided a two minute kick in the teeth would be a better option. A loathing of a sanitised culture probably heightened by that personal experience of dumbing down, we recorded it in London one weekend and finished at 6 on the morning. Tom drove us all back to Bolton as Neil had to be in school the next day. Ah, the joys of being young…

Generation Devoid of Inspiration - I (Conor) reckon this is the heaviest thing we have done. We were all very young when we started the band, I was 15, Tom was 17 and we are constantly striving to push the sound on. This clocks in at over five minutes and gave us a lot more freedom to experiment with different sounds and song structures. As much as we want people to respond to the lyrics we want them to respond to the music too and this may well be a good indication of what is coming next.

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