Anyone who copped the Hard Feelings single a few months back knew in their gut there was goodness on the horizon from hometown heroes the Constantines. The hard-driving first track off Kensington Heights, named after their Kensington Market rehearsal space (whose exact location they reveal if you read the acknowledgements closely enough) is indicative of the record’s explosive, anguished vibe.
Singer Bry Webb, sounding slightly less gravelly and more confident in his higher pitch, guides the group’s emotional range from the slow-burning, introspective Time Can Be Overcome to the pounding wallop of Brother Run Them Down. And talk about a clinic on getting a warm guitar sound – Webb and Steve Lambke have found a perfect middle ground between rock-out overdrive and a soulful, clear tone. If Tournament Of Hearts lacked consistency and focus, Heights feels like a fully realized artistic statement. Welcome back, Constantines.
Constantines play the Phoenix May 1.