About The Kill Devil Hills
The Kill Devil Hills formed in sun-bleached Perth, Western Australia, in 2003 as a quiet acoustic project by founding members Brendon Humphries, Steve Joines and Steve Gibson, but that was a dumb idea (too quiet) and didn’t last very long, quickly swelling ranks like a looming tide, until 15 years and a few divorces later it has settled down (sort of) as 6-piece purveyor of tuneful cacophony, beautiful bastard noise, ugly but honest ballads, and gene-spliced sonic travesties… in other words, a rock band with a heart of mud and coal.
Four albums (and a fifth about to drop), a few 7″s, a live record, several band members, a few laps of the planet and some late late nights later… Like the fabled Hydra, they are difficult, nay, impossible, to slay. The band has toured Australia, playing major festivals, venues of all sizes, with bands of all ranges, from the Beasts of Bourbon, the Dirty Three, the Drones, through to Jolie Holland and Justin Townes Earle, in the process finding themselves roaming Canada, the US and most parts of Western Europe…
With the violin bastardry of Alex Archer, and bass player Justin Castley on board the band hit a chord with fans early on with the release of Heathen Songs (2005) and its signature country-noir sound was breach-birthed with songs like Drinking Too Much, Gunslinger and Angry Town.
The Drought (2007) saw the band evolve and explore their sound, electric guitars emerging, amps turned up, the weird Romanesque-rock dramatics of Did I Damage You, and The Drought, clouding the clearer spaces of The Forsaken Few and Jesus Train. Much touring followed, laps of Australia and a foray into North America.
Fast track a line-up change, current bass player Ryan Dux arrives and the growl of valve tubes grows into the Burke Reid-produced Man, You Should Explode (2010), with the balladry of Words From Robin To Batman, and Lucy-On-All-Fours only just sticking their heads up over the rising swamp waters of electrified grunge.
European tours followed, two long hauls over 2011 and 2012 saw the band reach new shores, new ears and new levels of live intensity, with drummer Todd Pickett joining the sweaty fold. More touring, a graceful live album from a moonlit concert in Fremantle’s old Victorian asylum grounds, and the addition of keys maestro Timothy Nelson, and the band moved back to the studio to craft their fourth LP, In On Under Near Water (2016), and new sonic territories emerge, the pounding arabesque thump of Hydra, heavy faux-hip-hop of I Am The Rut I Am The Wheel, toned back to the delicate spareness of the title track.
Which brings us to now, and with founding member Steve Joines leaving the band in 2017, replaced by Luke Dux on lead guitar, the release of 2018’s Pink Fit is the first recorded incarnation of the current lineup, and what a mongrel of a record it is… recorded in 3 days live in the faded splendour of RADA studios, it spans the harshest, rockiest, strangest and most exploratory territory the band has found to date. There’s not much respite from the opening angularities of Acidosis, through 32 minutes later, to the experimental ballad of Petrov ’83. With upcoming release in May 2018 through the band’s Spanish label, Bang! Records, this will be launched on to the map with a whirlwind tour of Europe, returning to Australia for an August domestic launch and tours to follow.
An entrancing, visceral, emotive, sensual and usually very loud live act, this is one of those special Australian-mutant bands that only remote continents can cough up, a species confined to islands, fever-dreams, and occasionally to strut the stage a while. Catch them….