ARTIST: The KVB
RELEASE: Of Desire
RELEASE DATE: 11/03/16
RECORD COMPANY: INVADA RECORDS
Southampton UK band The KVB is the duo of Nicholas Wood and Kat Day, who have recently moved to Berlin. This is their second release on Geoff Barrow’s Invada label, which has helped them break out of bedroom recording to Invada Studios. Using Barrow’s synthesizers, they were able to flesh out ideas from Wood’s bedroom demos. The new record took dynamics, arrangements, and instrumentation much more into consideration, and a lot of layers were used for recordings. That work has resulted in a bold and outward facing record that immediately engages the listener. With influences ranging from Roxy Music to New Order/Joy Division, the band yanks doomy synth pop out of the 80s and gives it a fresh coat of sonic colours.
‘White Walls’ has trippy organ and a Motorik feel, and the main melodic line wouldn’t be out of place on a classic New Order album. The song bows and dips and skitters along like the sublime piece of electronica that it is. ‘Night Games’ is prime post punk with rubbery deep bass lines skating under Nicholas’s smooth voice. ‘Lower Depths’ is slow moving dark wave with sinuous vocals, and the whole affair has a creepy sheen to it. ‘Silent Wave’ is more reminiscent of Kraftwerk, if Kraftwerk were deeply into space rock. ‘Primer’ has a skein of trippy psych underpinning the icy synth lines, piercing through it with a melodic warmth that seems at odds with the synthetic sound. ‘Never Enough’ screams major dancefloor hit, if you live in an alternate universe. But truly, this song deserves the same kind of attention that Human League and New Order got back in the 80s. The song is catchy, even while Wood’s vocals are rather mechanical.
‘In Deep’ is a throbbing mesh of shoegaze and post punk, and this song could easily have graced the alternative airwaves at any time during the 1980s. And yet here, it sounds oddly at home too, because everything old is new again. ‘Awake’ is cool and ominous, and diamond sharp in its execution. Wood’s vocals are treated with an almost psychedelic feel, and used to great effect here. ‘V11393’ sends the listener into orbit, with its fierce backbeat and otherworldly instrumentation. ‘Unknown’ is widescreen and cinematic dreamy synth pop, and I almost hear Roxy Music in its flowing waves. ‘Mirrors’ is downcast and non-reflective, almost like standing on the crest of a hill overlooking a murky pond. It is also strangely uplifting by way of the graceful swoops of synth. ‘Second Encounter’ reminds one of classic Cure, but it’s elevated by what sounds like slide guitar.
Over and above all their work, this is the album that KVB fans have been waiting for, and it’s one that will garner some truly well deserved notice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days “continues to define my existence”. During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.