Kagoule are three friends from Nottingham that have grown up together and created Urth; a stunning debut album.The songs on this album unite different sides of guitar music; some grunge elements in the fuzzy guitars, an indie feel in the jangly melodies and vocals, and a punk attitude in the band’s energy and raw edge.
Urth opens with the brilliant Gush. There are some contrasts in this song; firstly, between the male and female vocals which immediately show that there is more depth to Kagoule than your standard alt-rock band. Also there’s a contrast in the relaxed feel of the verses to the heavy rock chorus which creates a very dynamic sound throughout the whole song.
Next on the album is Adjust The Way, one of the band’s earlier songs which was released with It Knows It. Grunge influences such as Pixies and Sonic Youth come through much more in this song with the combination of Lucy Hatter and Cai Burns’ vocals, like in both Sonic Youth and Pixies where you have the mixture of Kim Gordon/Thurston Moore’s and Kim Deal/Black Francis' vocals strong, resonate vocals.
Glue and Damp Sand follow; Cai Burns’ incredible guitar skills shine through in Glue, especially in the savage drops towards the end (his great ability has lead him to be named in Oscar’s top 5 underrated indie guitarists). Damp Sand is a has slightly more of a pop sensibility to it than the other songs on the album, which makes it stand out from the bunch, as well as showing Kagoule’s diverse range of songwriting. I’ve spoken about contrasts in their work before, but next up is Empty Mug which is a much heavier song with more rock elements, and there is an apparent influence from the likes of fellow midlanders Drenge with the shouted lyrics and guitar emphasis.
Greenbeefo is a great instrumental track which surprised me when I first listened to it because I didn’t expect it at all, as well as being a brilliant song it provides a very smooth transition into Centralwing. This is one of my favourites on Urth due to it’s incredibly strong chorus, and the development throughout the song in the melodies. Kagoule's latest single Made Of Concrete is next which is possibly the most typically indie song on the album, as well as being one of the catchiest. Open Mouth is very chilled out, throughout which is different to most other songs because they usually have a heavy chorus, or a heavier verse. One of the best things about Urth is that there is variation in every song so there is a constant sense of excitement as there is no chance of getting bored whilst listening to it. Although they are a relatively young, their music is developed, as shown in Mike and It Knows It through lyrics that actually make you think, as well as excellent drumming. Finally, closing the album is Blue Sun, a song which would sound out of place if it wasn’t for Burns’ unique voice. Blue Sun is Cai on his own with his guitar and is very stripped back compared to the other tracks which creates another dimension in Urth.
This is definitely one of my favourite albums so far this year, and I think it is completely wonderful. I love how they have incorporated different styles, so no song sounds the same at all. This album could easily give Kagoule the publicity to become a major band on the indie circuit in my opinion, because they are quite unlike many other bands at the moment.
(written by isobel mcleod)