Released 7th January 2013
Two albums in one year? Well nearly……
And probably another one germinating somewhere in East and South Manchester………Kill Pretty are a band with a mission to produce as much product as possible….and to make it as varied as possible.
So it starts to become clear that the band’s first album “In 80 Days” was more transitional than I originally thought – the early uniqueness of the 6dB sessions with Craig Scanlon, and the Sonic Diary Session, brought to us a point where the remaining DNA of Sicknurse and The Hamsters needed to be extracted from the cellular residue……subsequent sessions with Larry Gott have indicated that the band is capable of going to completely new places with each release…..in a somewhat breath-taking fashion.
And so we move on and the core intent of the band starts to emerge.
Recorded over two days in Liverpool in the summer of 2012 “Dark Heart” proves to be their best work to date.
The intention from the outset is clear – make a glorious racket and enjoy yourself whilst doing it.
“Mirror Factory” features a basic but incredibly moreish guitar figure from Chris Dutton over a laid back swing from MJ Leigh esq and rumbling bass from Josh. This then transcends into a howling and rapacious beast of a thing which bounces around like an uncontrolled meerkat in a sack. “Andrew’s World” is similarly intense and a little unforgiving at times. No time to catch your breath with a similarly manic “Breakdown Man” with Chris Dutton extracting sonic washes from the guitar as Mike and Josh propel a gravel voiced Moet into garage punk heaven.
Things calm down for a beautifully composed paean to ageing and dementia- “Sylvia Fading” – Moet is at his best lyrically as the band take a simple chord sequence and create a real sense of drama. Back to the garage for the utterly marvellous “Clever Men Who Have Thin Arms” which deals with the politics of the day in a way only this band can. Hanging musically somewhere between Bo Diddley, Nuggets, and proto punk the sense of enjoyment coming from the band is palpable. Bird Calls, howling, scratchy guitars and manic drums make this something special.
“Devil Resides” harks backs to the ’60s and I can’t help feeling that a bit of Hammond Organ would round it off nicely but having said that it’s pretty damn good without me adding my two-penneth, They’ve not played this one live yet and I have a feeling it will be good when it is. Riff-tastic as a certain Salford City Radio DJ is likely to say. “Love Twists” kicks off with the signature Leigh drum sound but quickly moves to centre around a stunning bass riff and then a jack-hammer chorus which resolves into descending/ascending chords. Moet returns to current themes in his work around the impact of ageing on life in general, there appears to be a great deal of anger management embedded in these songs, and many hours could be spent analysing the meaning behind the words.
I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure about the new recording of “Rob A Bank” – it seems to have lost some of it’s chutzpah. It is proving to be a bit of an audience favourite live, so at the end of the day I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I have to say the earlier version i’ve heard has a bit more edge to it.
The conclusion to the album is pure genius. In “Dark Heart” the band excel themselves in composition, arrangement and performance. And this is what I mean about their ability to vary their output. In the same way that “Year of 13 Moons” and “Hammer Blows” are completely unique in their canon of work so this track also goes somewhere else completely.
It comprises 12 minutes plus of sensational noise where guitars, melodica, penny whistles, bass and drums melt into a sort of psychedelic kraut rock heaven with Moet bathed in reverb, howling at the moon in defiance against a range of issues – the key theme is clearly mortality, and there is something almost visceral about the execution of the song. About five minutes in the pace drops off. which increases the sense of menace in the song as Moss narrates and then screams his intention to remain with us and survive his recent health problems. The closing three minutes is a glorious free form jam which although born in Denton, Glossop and Timperley could just as easily have emerged from Dusseldorf. Amazing!
My album of the year in 2012 – even though it was not released until 2013
Get it now and more importantly see them live!