We’re different people when we’re alone, with family, with friends. Part of becoming a fully-formed person is finding that circle of people that accepts us and lets us be who we are. That circle becomes our family, independent of blood relationships.
Great Thunder is a family affair. The band’s Facebook description calls them a “clandestine musical project by brother/sister duo currently residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,” consisting of members “K and K.” In reality, one K is Waxahatchee‘s Katie Crutchfield, while the other is Swearin‘s Keith Spencer. The two are a couple. Along with Katie’s twin sister Allison and Kyle Gilbride (also of Swearin’), they form a collective that’s been churning up the sounds of 1990’s indie, lo-fi, and punk with some excellent results.
Strange Kicks sees K and K delving into distortion-heavy, wall-of-sound, shoegaze hum on songs like “Kees,” “Wormhole,” and the title track. There’s the acoustic, l0-fi indie pop on the Spencer-led “Waiting For You To Come Around” along with what almost sounds like a Teenage Fanclub / Dinosaur Jr. hybrid in “Just Dessert.” Appropriately, the downloadable version of the EP closes with a sped up cover of the Mazzy Star classic, “Fade Into You,” Crutchfield’s vocals and the guitar riding atop a drum machine beat.
Crutchfield’s distinctive vocals, the defining sonic characteristic of both Waxahatchee albums, come through on even the noisiest tracks. If you didn’t know going in, you’d have no doubt about the identity of one of the K’s about 15 seconds into “Kees,” the EP’s first cut.
In that sense, Strange Kicks shows that maybe we aren’t so different alone, with friends, with family. Maybe the people with whom we surround ourselves at any given moment just serve to highlight different aspects of our personalities, help us to be more of the us that we want to be right then. Katie Crutchfield and Keith Spencer sound different here than they do in either of their other projects, but not so different that the low profile they’re keeping as Great Thunder would fool anyone.