Sealed with a kiss

Children’s games supply ample metaphors for Detachment Kit.

Keri Carlson

Candy Land is about the simplest child’s game you can find. It basically consists of moving a token from start to finish by drawing cards that tell how many spaces to move. The winner is just the luckiest.

Detachment Kit probably sees something more in Candy Land. To the band, the game is a metaphor for how life works. The simplicity of the action illuminates the more complex parts.

The cover of the band’s latest album “Of This Blood,” folds out into a game board. The directions explain to place a penny at the start and put the CD on random in the CD-player. Whichever track number the CD-player lands on is the number of spaces to move.

The first song “Night of My Death” – packed with lovely “la la las,” horns and xylophone chimes – is clearly an intro track; but the rest of the album does not need to be played in order. Detachment Kit’s range allows the pieces to vary so greatly from one to the next that each song distinctly stands on its own. In fact, this range reflects the game board.

The funky bass tracks with spiky guitar are like landing on the buried treasure and moving five extra spaces. The slower and gentler songs are like missing a short cut but steadily roll along. And Ian Menard’s screeching yowls (that could make some metal singers jealous) resemble being caught in the Cemetery of Doom.

For many artists this kind of assortment would show a lack of focus. Detachment Kit, though, thrives in every style and fits its lyrics to each song so that the diversity works in their favor. “Pill Cake” is a snotty art punk song verging on pretentiousness as Menard spits, “We know how to have fun / natural selection helps.” On “Music For Strobelights,” however, Menard sweetly sighs the soul-baring lines, “This voice is a harness / This motion’s lost gravity Ö I can’t seem to get to you / moving in slow motion.”

While the songs differ greatly, many contain a similar theme of waiting for someone or asking someone to wait. “Ice Queen” most desperately cries, “Why can’t you wait for me? Now that you’re gone Ö I’m holding you back.” Whatever mood the album takes on, there’s always an unsatisfied feeling.

The game is harder to win than Candy Land. So many setbacks clutter the game board, like “lose a turn,” “move back spaces” or the dreaded “back to the start.” The last track, “Spider” leaves with Menard softly crooning, “I feel wonderfully / I feel tired.” It doesn’t sound like Detachment Kit has won the game or reached what it has been waiting for. Nor does it sound hopeless and stuck in the cemetery of doom. “Of This Blood” encourages to keep rolling the dice, no matter how many times you must start over.