Indianapolis-based KIDS IN THE WAY play hard-edged rock with an important spiritual dimension. Tony Cummings reports.
With a seemingly endless succession of edgy, guitar rock band coming out of the USA it's difficult for discerning rock fan to keep up with them all. However, Indianapolis-based Kids In The Way did get noticed with the release of their debut album 'Safe From The Losing Fight' (with Cross Rhythms playlisting the songs "Love" and "We Are"). The band's name might suggest a Jump5-like group purveying light weight teen pop. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Said Kids In The Way's lead singer Dave Pelsue, "Growing up in junior high school and high school I was really into bands like Bush and Smashing Pumpkins. Those bands are like classic to me. Those are bands that stick out in my mind as bands that can stand the test of time. Those are the bands that I've carried with me throughout the years."
Now comes the band's second album, 'Apparitions Of Melody', produced by Nathan Dantzler (Tre63, Staple) and Sam Shifley (Mortal Treason, subseven). The album is gutsy, intense rock exploring themes ranging from transience and metaphysical warfare to social injustice. Consisting of Dave Pelsue (vocals), Austin Cobb (guitars), Nathan Ehman (guitars) and Eric Carter (drums), the group have a serious spiritual agenda behind their music. Said Dave Pelsue, "When we play, it creates a reaction from people and we get to address it after the show. The Holy Spirit is there no matter what. It's not like we bring him in. People aren't going to be hit with the Gospel necessarily, but they will feel the Holy Spirit. We want to leave them wondering 'What just happened?' It's important to le the people know by our body language and interaction before and after the show that we're not just there to entertain. We're there to connect with people."
Pelsue explained the unusual title of their second album. "Apparitions Of Melody refers to our hope that our music will instil something deeper than the melody. Once the music is old, the spirit is still around and still affects people and is still in them. Every one of our songs is written about a real person experience. We want to be the same off stage as we are on. It's a matter of integrity. I think we're trying to convey that we're not five rock stars, we're not higher than them."
Guitarist Austin Cobb believes there is an overall theme to Apparitions. "A lot of the feel of the record comes from this time in our life, a time of growth - one of us got married, another got engaged briefly. We're looking for love. That can be hard, but we're triumphant already. Our music can be dark at times, but it's more about the light at the end of the tunnel than the hurt that you experience along the way."
One of the more affecting songs on the band's album is Safety In The Darkness. Said Dave Pelsue, "Safety In The Darkness talks about finding God in the darkest times in your life. I wrote it in a really weird moment in my life. I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a storm outside and it was really dark and I was going through a really weird time where I was feeling distracted and far away from God. Out of that physical and spiritual darkness, I learned that that's where it's easiest to find him. If you ever feel like you're totally in the dark, that's where you're going to find safety."
In a recent interview CCM magazine wondered whether it was really
possible for a band like Kids In The Way to connect with their
youthful audience when they are only in town for the gig. Said Austin
Cobb, "That was something I struggled with for a while. We go in there
that night and then we're gone. Do we really make a difference? And
recently I was reading in 1 Corinthians where it says one of you will
plant the seed, one of you will water it. And that's it. We're
planting these seeds with these kids and it's up to us to hook them up
with a family and accountability. And it's up to them to water,
because we're not going to be there. That doesn't let us off the hook,
but we literally can't be there. You can't give your number to every
kid you meet. We've got to make sure we're playing for the right
motives. We don't do it to be famous or make money, which is good,
because we're not doing either of those!"