When you hear Sharon Koltick sing, you remember the promise of rock & roll — and as she fronts her earnest, taut band Kink Ador, you begin to realize that promise. The living, rebellious beauty. Art and hammers bring the sound down, and she takes her place, laid absolutely against a slamming beat, claiming vocal ground and then swinging among soaring guitar lines. This singer-bassist-horn-blowing empress leads the charge against the quick and the dead.
It is the shining goods, the reminder that a stripped down trio can bring it home. Rock. Roll. Kink Ador. Koltick — along with burning guitarist (and songwriting partner) Nick Hamilton, and fierce drummer Pearce Harrison — has staked out a scorching, punk-inflected landscape to work. No pervasive, heartsick indie territory here.
It’s the bright explosion. When Kink Ador steps onstage, the band delivers with a driving, straight-ahead clarity hard to find in a post-pop wasteland. Witness and muse at once, Koltick brings a sense of purpose and controlled fury to the fore. Her voice conjures the hiding spirit, power-packed and expressive, complemented with a dynamic control that allows for the deft touch.
“I’ve tried to think about this. What does it mean to be free? What happened to rock & roll you know? It’s not a fashion show. I feel like — with Kink Ador — I’m following in this tradition of classic rock. Spiritual. Meaningful. Entertaining and raw. It’s not all pretty.”
The band certainly brings it. Reaching for the limits of rhythm, Hamilton is the ultimate rock & roll soldier, as willing to do whatever it takes — even the dirty work — as he is to soar into unreal flight. Koltick might pick a trumpet up from the floor and haunt the room. They churn with a fusion — one that can rock the street, yet yield the jazz surprise with unexpected twists and turns. It is a body punch that delivers.
Shakespeare he’s in the alley.
When Dylan, back in the ‘60s, dragged poetry into rock & roll’s tough and glass-strewn alley, a tenuous bond between the word and the explosive, rattling beat was born. The grail became the whole song — emotion and sonic fire. And, while it was the song that brought Koltick to Nashville in 2007, it was her love of poetry and writing — the fire inside — that brought Kink Ador. It was Nabokov specifically.
“I was reading Ada, or Ardor, at the time,” she said. “The Kink Ador. It has such a sonic thing that resonates in my brain. I’ve always thought of rock & roll as weird and strange. And like the Kink Ador, sort of embracing the strangeness — moving toward it instead of away from it. It’s sort of my ship — I’m steering it — but it’s an idea. It needs to have its own name. And music is a collective. No one does anything alone — especially in music.”
It’s Koltick’s sense of lyric, and her voice, that cut through a cool madness.
And there is something hiding behind many of her lines, that questions who we really are, as in the bristling “Barbarians” (You wouldn’t know it by the way I dress / but I would take that bread from your hand / no regress / I don’t think twice …) or in the fundamental “Animal” (I go where my feet they travel / I follow the starry path / I sleep in the basement on concrete floors / I rest my head but my eyes stay open / I won’t look back, I won’t look back …).
Others, like the otherworldly and trumpet-stoned “Shape Of Life To Come” or the unabashedly grateful (yet tinged with irony) “I Owe It All To The Free World” — the centerpiece for the upcoming record — confirm Koltick’s stylistic definition.
The songs all cry out in joy, muscle and paranoia, framed by her ardent vocals, set against Hamilton’s driving and emphatic sound, and backed by the loaded beat — the proven dynamic.
“For me, with my background, the lyrics have always been a driving force,” Koltick said. “Something that matches the music. And I love performing – I love working on it to make it a more exciting experience for someone else. How can I connect — you have to show them something that’s inspirational or provide them that escape — that someplace to go.”