From: Southampton, United Kingdom
If you believe the hysterical doom mongers the end of the world is nigh (again) and not even Indiana Jones can save us this time. Apparently an ancient Mayan chain of stationers forgot to order their 2013 calendar and therefore, obviously, a cataclysmic event will destroy the earth before the end of this year. With the world teetering on the edge of extinction it's hardly surprising that Glum Rock is undergoing a long overdue renaissance.
Following the lead of The Horrors, bands like Toy, S.C.U.M and the under appreciated Suicide Party are creeping out of the undergrowth to disseminate their dark, arty rock and soundtrack the forthcoming apocalypse. Always Then, the dystopian new album from the prolific Suicide Party guitarist Klaus Von Barrel aka The K.V. B. is perfectly timed to ride this gloomy, dark wave zeitgeist. It's the glummest of the glum, the icy cold sound of an emotionally frozen, sterile world. It's the sound of a JG Ballard novel forming a band and making Unknown Pleasures sound like a party record. Alienation has never sounded so cool.
The principle influences on the album read like a list of the leading lights of Glum Rock's early 80s highpoint. Echo & The Bunnymen, The Human League (pre Dare era), The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Birthday Party and most notably Joy Division. You can imagine the Klaus house littered with well loved and deeply scratched copies of the entire output of the Glum Rock alumni.
The album kicks off with 'Captives' which sounds like The Human League with Ian Curtis on vocal duties. It's dance music for the clinically depressed. The drum beat of 'Waiting For The Fall' was either discovered by when rifling through some old Joy Division outtakes or Martin Hannett's death has been greatly exaggerated. It's better than anything messrs Sumner, Hook and the other two have released since Ian Curtis died. Ok I may have gone a little too far there; it's better than anything they've released since Blue Monday.
In the hands of The K V B Nancy Sinatra's playfully sadistic 'These Boots Were Made For Walking' is reinvented as 'Boots' a feedback drenched, sinister, threatening, musical equivalent of A Clockwork Orange. 'Here It Comes' sounds uncannily like Echo & The Bunnymen covering a slowed down, feedback free version of The Jesus & Mary Chain's first single 'Upside Down'. 'Hands' is cold, clinical and austere while 'Leaning' is as bleak and unsettling as anything on John Foxx's ground breaking early 80s album Metamatic. If you haven't already guessed this is not a party album.
If you see music as entertainment and prefer to dance your way to the end of the world then Always Then is not for you. If however you're a serious young cove who understands that music is art, as something to make you think, to act as a soundtrack to our increasingly bleak and atomised lives ahead of the forthcoming apocalypse then The K V B have just delivered your album of the year.
This review was originally written by the Devil for The 405 and is published with permission.
The KVB - Captives by Carl Clan D
Boots by The KVB
Leaning by The KVB
The K V B - Facebook : Website : Last.FM
The K V B