Be Your Own God
26th September 2015
KIT B emerged a couple of years back from the dissolution of Manchester underground favourites The Hidden Gem, a band that deserved a lot more attention than it got. KIT B ought get all the attention they deserve with this EP. The second self-release from the band, introduces new drummer Peter Slater (who had a stint with John Peel favourites Blackpool’s Vee V V, who in turn emerged from Tunnelvision and the seaside punk scene), and delivers four new tunes plus two remixes (by the alter-egos of two of the bands’ members).
Debut EP “This Picture” has just re-emerged on Bandcamp and I suggest you start there to familiarise yourself with their output.
This is high grade Manchester alternative popular music. Lead man Danny Cusick has demonstrated over the years that he can write excellent lyrics and melodies, there is literally a whole albums worth of unreleased material by the band that has not seen the light of day. That collection of tunes amply demonstrated the potential of the band. The new collection builds on that legacy and moves the band on as a writing and performing unit. All the songs are co-credited to the four band members.
Opener Montezuma builds from bassist John Montague’s (The Junta, Pearl Divers, Positronik) riff and lyrically is Cusick’s homage to Lou Reed ,with clever references to the VU front-man’s output and history. Cusick’s vocal is his usual mix of tender and fractured instilling an emotional edge which requires repeat play. Keyboardist Mike Powell (Exchange, Night Operations) builds layers of synths to create a rich sound.
Title track Be Your Own God has a typical Cusick more-ish melody which is driven by a chunky Montague bass line and has some delicious break-downs and changes between verse and chorus. The song could go on a lot longer for me, it’s that good. In Peter Slater the band have an excellent drummer who has been able to take on the mammoth task of filling previous sticks-man Tony Ashworth’s shoes.
Vicious Circle, probably the best song on the release to these ears comes across tonally a bit like “Shoulder Pads” by the Fall with it’s staccato keyboard line but develops it’s own identity with a developing melody and a motorik drive from Slater and Montague. For some reason I was also reminded of something from early Yes. (obligatory in-joke prog rock reference!) Again another great song which is over far too quickly.
(It’s Gonna Be) Alright starts all techno and then morphs into pure pop out of the Hulme massive. Heady nights in the Hacienda or The Ritz are called to mind. Montague’s bass delivers a pungent restless urgency to the song, Cusick teeters on the edge of emotional break-down with a bitter-sweet vocal.
Cusick says “Vicious circle and Alright have been knocking around for a while and a psychoanalyst would probably be able to explain the meaning of the songs more clearly than me. The title ‘Vicious Circle ‘ is the original title of ‘ in the Ghetto ‘ by Elvis, I’m a great fan.The lyric for ‘Alright’ came out in a stream of consciousness and took about 10 minutes to write.
The two remixes reflect the other “jobs” of Montague and Powell. Monty adopts his Junta persona for techno rework of Vicious Circle, stripped down and stuffed with analogue squelches replacing his own bass line, he brings a different dance oriented dynamic to the tune. Mike adopts his ambient Night Operations approach to recreate an electronica/dance focused feel to Alright with urgent beats and attention given to the bass and guitar lines, and then a move into OMD territory with a trip down the autobahn at some pace.
I submitted a few questions via Facebook to the band in anticipation of the EP launch at Tiger Lounge, Cooper Street, Manchester on 26th September. I kicked off by asking, given the large amount of material in the band’s catalogue, why it had taken so long to come out and whether other releases are planned, and why a self release approach had been adopted?:
DC: Two years to release four songs and a couple of remixes is quite good going for us. There are no plans for the album at the moment but we have new material that we are quite excited about so there maybe a vinyl single towards the new year. We decided not to hawk the ep around the record labels, wejust thought we’d go down a DIY route and not have to suffer the indignity of numerous ‘Dear John ‘ replies.
The EP’s striking cover comes from an idea Cusick had before he even wrote the title song.
DC: I just sent the brief over to a graphic designer I know from Dublin, Donogh McLaverty, and he worked his magic and produced the great image.
The EP will be available in a an attractive faux-vinyl CD from the band at gigs from their website and a digital version will be also be on-line in the near future.
The EP will be available to buy at the Tiger Lounge gig and as for other gigs Montague revealed that plans are being put together for an evening with Y-Key Operators and The Electric Cheese.
The support act for the Tiger Lounge gig is newish band The G-O-D which is a side project of Dub-Sex guitarist Chris Bridgett and features the legendary Manchester drummer Simon Wolstencroft (The Fall, Ian Brown).
I asked the band what music they were listening to at the moment.
DC: I’m just listening to a 1970s top of the pops album I bought for 50p from a charity shop,it has a version of PILs ‘death disco’ on it amongst others.Elton John played on a lot of these L.P’s before he got married and became a housewife.
PS: is listening to Lonelady. Slug , Sleaford Mods and The Membranes.
JM: I’m liking the new Wolf Alive album, and shock horror Years & Years which I bought my wife. Quite good debut album,like it! (you can also hear Monty’s current faves on his radio show on Salford City Radio on Tuesday nights at 9pm).
MP: i’m enjoying the new Jane Weaver and the Underworld album “A Hundred Days Off” at the moment (you can listen to Mike on Halton FM on Tuesday between 8 and 10pm)
A highly recommended EP and the band are well worth seeing live so don’t miss the gig at the Tiger Lounge.