Kicking And Screaming

7 August 2012 | 8:00 am | Stuart Evans

“I like to think we do for music what those Gervais and [Larry] David do for comedy. A lot of what inspires people does not always happen to be in the field that they work.”

Who said you need prescribed or recognised musical training to do well in the music biz? It must be bullshit, right? “No one in this band has had any formal training,” Travis Hair reveals. The Aussie love affair with good ol' fashioned rock music does not look like abating anytime soon. Of course, it helps to have a charismatic lead vocalist and a decent playlist. And being different from the norm can help, too.

Brisbane rockers The Incredible Kicks have it all. With lead vocalist, keyboardist and guitarist Travis Hair and a sound akin to a modern day blend of Queen and, err, well – take your pick from a number of Aussie rockers - Cold Chisel, Silverchair, the Oils - the band is more varied than a box of liquorice allsorts. “We get asked to explain what our sound is a lot. I normally say that it's like pop music but on steroids. Our music is certainly a bit different to what else is out there.”

He's not kidding. The Incredible Kicks are unquestionably rock-oriented but also damn quirky with vocal harmonies, nudges to comedic influences and a bit of alternative pop thrown into the mix. Aside from Hair, the band is a three-man venture that includes Luis Bran (bass, vocals) and Josh Griffin (drums, vocals). So what is driving the current attention focused on the trio? There's little doubt the boys can play, change tempo, switch from hard to soft rock and back again, and then surprise the audience by slipping into a virtuoso Queen homage.

Hair also has a formidable stage presence - he's charismatic, candid and droll: “We have a lot of fun when making music. We spend a lot of time having fun with rhythms, hammering and making our sound natural and then building many layers into the music.” 

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Their Fairytales EP, released in August last year, received positive comments, and they've responded in typically unconventional style with another, Ineffective Lullabies. Hair is typically witty on the success of Fairytales EP. “I'm just glad it wasn't rejected,” he laughs. “I can understand how some people would find it difficult to get into our music as there aren't many others doing what we do. We duck in and out of styles but we hope to use that to our advantage. It would be good to hear more bands play the kind of music we play.” 

Their latest effort, Ineffective Lullabies, is an extention in substance, topic and style: it continues with the band's quirky sound bytes and self-deprecating slant on having a laugh and poking fun at themselves. And as Hair says, it's very much pop music on steroids (or some kind of enhancement, though since we're still in Olympic mode steroids might be appropriate).

“Yeah, Ineffective Lullabies is really us continuing with much the same sound and style to Fairytales. We derive a lot of pleasure with filling space with sounds.” 

The band's quirkiness comes from an equally diverse range of sources: Ricky Gervais and the “awkward humour” of Larry David; add the '90s soft-rock Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, who has toured as Rihanna's guitarist, and… Toto. “I like to think we do for music what those Gervais and [Larry] David do for comedy. A lot of what inspires people does not always happen to be in the field that they work.”

The future for The Invisible Kicks then looks promising. “We've only started to get radio play so it's difficult for us to measure success. Our last tour was a success and we hope to continue to play at cool festivals to build a circuit and a crowd.”

For budding melody makers out there, he has one simple bit of advice: “Writing music and rehearsing is important but making contacts and spending time with family and friends is just as important as actually making music.”