The Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome is a rare disease, linked to the X chromosome, which can only be passed on to baby boys by their mothers. A striking feature of LNS is self-mutilating behaviors - characterized by lip and finger biting. Other symptoms include facial grimacing, involuntary writhing, and repetitive movements of the arms and legs. Two students named Matt O'Neill and Jarrett Crader had a band in college called The Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome. That band didn't last long, but five years later, it evolved into The Kingdom Flying Club; a name that far better represents the now Missouri foursome.
Their sophomore album, Non - Fiction, released on Emergency Umbrella records back in 2003, has flown under the radar for far too long. Non - Fiction is an album that has the familiarity of everything fans love about the band's first release, Minutes From the Meeting, but also leaves an aftertaste that brings in a fresh, younger crowd. Consisting of 13 filling tracks about astrology, girls, drugs, and dreams, the album is an inclusive compilation, showcasing the band's musical diversity, which ranges from gentle, indie-pop carols to hard, math rock numbers.
The album opens with a few obvious hits, including 'Hateshirt', which delivers a heavy baseline, a growly guitar, and a few underlying space-rock elements. "I close my eyes/ and make my love appear/ out of thin air" sings O'Neill in the next song, 'Artists are Boring'; a pretty piano piece joined by a ukulele. This song was featured on Fox's 'The OC' back in March. "I was upset when/ you had sex with my best friend/ but it was easy to believe/ you were just trying to get to me," the author laments in 'Time's No Eraser' which is admittedly depressing as I remind myself of the album's title.
The next few tracks are all uplifting rebound numbers carried by an energy that starts off slow, but picks up quickly. 'Now We Watch the Luge (and Drink)' starts out with an interesting pop tune through which the author rants about everything he's "sick of" (rain, love, brains, etc.), and ends with the sound of squealing children. Then comes 'We're Nothing New', filled with despondent vocals and a layered orchestration to match, emulating the band's softer side. "We're nothing and we never were", O'Neill sums up the band's humble, down-to-Earth attitude. 'Down By the Lake' is a melancholy reflection in which the author simply explains that he's "been through the hell of love" and doesn't "want it anymore". "Don't let me wake/ cause you're a good dream baby" he asks his lover in the 2nd verse.
The album's transition back into a harder sound highlights the next song, 'My Astrologer' in which the author has a conversation with his astrologer about what his lover is doing in ten years. "It's not for you to know" the astrologer tells him, to which he plainly replies, "God damn". The band says their goodbyes throughout the last song in which the author describes all he sees from an ambulance window, en route to the hospital: a praying mantis, a venus fly trap, and a black widow spider.
To put it simply, The Kingdom Flying Club play fun, clean music that you can sing and dance to; music we could all use a little more of. Whether or not there is any fiction to this album, I am unsure of. But Non-Fiction deserves a listen or two from everyone, and that's a fact.