Metro Detroit-based indie rockers Kimball are wise beyond their years. Although lead songwriters and singers Austin McCauley and Emily Barr are only 19 and 20 years-old, respectively, their music possesses an insight about the world that suggests a lifetime of hard lessons learned early. Their latest single, “Guns,” exemplifies this worldly view, and was written during a trying time in Barr’s teen years, when she found out her father was having an affair. The emotion and honesty put into this song resulted in a universally relatable anthem about betrayal, broken expectations, and recovery.
Although Barr wrote the lyrics to “Guns” about the turmoil in her personal life, she and McCauley admit that certain aspects of the song can also be interpreted to be a commentary on gun control. When I suggest that the first line of the song, “It’s fucked up / you got guns / and you still don’t feel safe at night… I’ve been thinking about biting the bullet,” could be taken in a literal sense, the pair says they urge listeners to pull whatever meaning they hear from the song. “A thing that’s so beautiful about music is that people can see a song through their own eyes,” says McCauley. “Even if it’s not necessarily about actual guns, people can take that and feel something that we didn’t even expect it to mean.”
Barr nods at the flexible nature of song meanings throughout time and embraces the fact that the lyrics to “Guns” could be taken in a more literal sense. “I think the first line does speak to the point that we build these walls up around ourselves. And there’s so much fear in our country right now, there’s so much fear of the unknown,” says Barr. “Really, the answer isn’t building up walls, it isn’t arming ourselves with guns, it’s going out and talking to people and getting to know people and understanding our differences”
The band released their debut EP, North Wilson, on June 2nd and will celebrate with a release show at The Loving Touch in Ferndale, Michigan on June 8th. Listen to the full EP below.