The Kickback Sorry All Over The Place on LP
The Kickback’s debut, Sorry All Over The Place (Jullian Records), is an invigorating 10-song collection that fuses ‘60s bubblegum sentimentality with modern indie rock’s quirky confessionals and wiry musicality. The album also represents vocalist/guitarist Billy Yost’s seven-year odyssey, as he shifted from being a small town songwriter living with his parents to writing music on his own terms, putting together an acclaimed band, and earning the respect of one of his primary influences.
The story begins in 2009 when Billy, a recent college graduate, decided to leave his rural South Dakota home and move to Chicago. “I was terrified about making the move,” Billy confides. “I loved where I grew up. I spent a lot of time there writing songs for this record, and figuring out what I had to offer. But I needed a bigger pool of musicians who I had things in common with musically.”
The Kickback, composed of Yost (vocals, guitar), Eamonn Donnelly (bass), Jonny Ifergan (guitar), and Ryan Farnham (drums), is influenced by a broad array of irreverent, cerebral, and sometimes outlandish, cultural references. They cite Hunter S. Thompson, post-post-modernism, an inflated sense of self-importance, large families, David Foster Wallace, The Wire, big sounds and then quiet sounds, David Lynch, harmonies, Michael Keaton, and entitlement, as their conceptual inspirations.
Upon arriving in Chicago, Billy assembled the band through Craigslist ads, weathering a series of changes until the band solidified with the current lineup. Despite Billy’s status as the founding member and primary songwriter, The Kickback is a truly collaborative effort built around each member’s artistic vision.
To record Sorry All Over The Place, the four-piece decamped to Jim Eno’s studio, Public Hi-Fi, in Austin, Texas. The album is named after a fictional footnote in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. In a similar spirit to Wallace’s multi-layered literary tour de force (which includes 388 endnotes), Sorry All Over The Place is rife with a fascinating array of references and revelations.
It’s this infatuation with juxtaposition, beamed through the lens of Billy’s life, that makes the album both comforting and disquieting. “Scorched Earth Brouhaha” lops along with catchy, propulsive guitar riffs and balmy power-pop passages. The dreamy “When I Die” is a torch song for the megalomaniac terrified of death, who even in his fearful obsessions seeks to control everything. The new-wavey “Sting’s Teacher Years” sonically alludes to The Police and Sting’s former life as a teacher, while more directly citing Billy’s prior path as a college graduate with a teacher’s degree confronting the next era of his life.