Fort Worth, Texas-based band The Unlikely Candidates are drawing attention — and fans — with their energetic attitude and unconventional Lone Star sound.
The Unlikely Candidates’ lead singer, Kyle Morris, is on the phone for an interview, parked in front of a Walmart, a place he says is the band’s “go-to parking spot most nights” and their “home away from home.” He’s relaxed, stringing out answers with ease and a nonchalant enthusiasm. It’s a fitting persona for a band of literal misfits. But see a video of The Unlikely Candidates perform live, and you’ll see another side — an awesome one.
The energy of their live performance is a complete 180 from the laid-back attitude of Morris’ phone call. The Unlikely Candidates take the stage like William Wallace took the battlefield at Stirling Bridge: at a fierce full-tilt. Lead singer Morris abandons his place at the mic and jumps off of stages and amps and into crowds and pits, while the rest of the band rocks hard in the background. It’s a performance that grabs you by the collar and demands attention. Attend a show, and the vigor they have for their music will leave a lasting impression.
Starting out in Fort Worth, Texas, The Unlikely Candidates have always been on the outskirts of their hometown’s music scene, preferring rock to Cowtown’s country scene. With their nonconformist attitude, the band was able to turn their differences into an advantage, drawing inspiration from Fort Worth in a different light.
“We’ve always been kind of outside of the scene, which has been an interesting thing,” Morris says. “We’ve kind of never really gotten into whatever genre had been going on in Fort Worth at the time. But that little bit of isolation allowed us to operate on our own. It led us to not be overly influenced and really focus on what we wanted to do with ourselves and there wasn’t as much ... competition, just because we were doing our own thing. It was a good environment for us to grow up in and really develop our own sound. There are a lot of amazing bands in Fort Worth, and while we might not be part of the sound that’s been going on, we’ve still been fans of all the bands in the area and have probably picked up those sounds just through osmosis.”
Straying from the typical country, folk, and bluesy sounds of Fort Worth, The Unlikely Candidates assembled their sound from an outsider’s perspective, developing their own type of rock ’n’ roll, a complex version of garage rock impacted by bands like The Strokes, with a dash of punk from The Clash.
“We were always a really big fan of the ’90s garage-rock scene ... and of the rock god bravado that some of the early classic rock bands have with some of the recklessness of the early punk bands,” Morris says.
There were other influences on their sound: After signing with a big label and losing a bandmate, The Unlikely Candidates went through a static period of being unable to release new songs. But that period allowed their songwriting to develop, and a little shift in sound was unavoidable. The result is a firecracker of an EP entitled Bed of Liars, on alt-rock label Another Century Records.
“Songs like ‘Ringer’ and ‘Reaction’ were written in [guitarist Brenton Carney’s] house after being told that we needed to write songs or otherwise we might get dropped from the label. So that was kind of like a very inspiring back-against-the wall moment,” Morris says. “We were in California for a couple of weeks and me and Brent really got into the West Coast rap sound. We listened to that for months and it really influenced our sound for a long time. So there’s a nice little patchwork of different phases that came together to make the [Bed of Liars] EP.”
Their first EP, Follow My Feet, consists of some crowd favorites like top Spotify tune “Follow My Feet” and the head-bobbing “Trampoline.” Bed of Liars showcases more of the band’s energetic and natural nomadic nature, from the fast-paced “Your Love Could Start a War” to the catchy dance-inducing tune “Ringer.” The new EP is promising start to a full album and a springboard to stardom.
Listen to The Unlikely Candidates’ Bed of Liars.
For more information on The Unlikely Candidates and their upcoming tour dates, visit their website.