Of Desire

For every pioneer filled with the arrows of disinterest, misunderstanding and, on occasion, outright hatred and disdain, there will always be those that pick up the trail to forge ahead to be quickly followed by any number of ersatz clones gleefully tearing strips away to wrap themselves in the clothing of the dead and bask in a reflected glory. And while it’s inescapable to escape one’s influences, the real trick is in knowing what to do with them and in this respect, The KVB are very much the kind of band that picks up where others have left off to press on.

Along the way, The KVB have acquired the patronage and approval of some influential friends that have included Anton Newcombe, Geoff Barrow and Sonic Boom and the latter two feature at this juncture of the band’s story as label boss and taking charge of the mastering respectively. This should give some clear indication of where The KVB are coming from and, more importantly, where they’re heading.

Of Desire is the duo’s most widescreen statement to date and one that blends cinematic sweeps with the post-punk sensibilities of Joy Division at their most glacial and The Cure at the height of their early 80s lysergic anguish. Other touchstones include Suicide, The Sisterhood and even long lost purveyors of melancholy such as The Sound and Testcard F, two bands that have unfairly slipped down the cracks of history. Certainly, those of a particular vintage will respond in an almost Pavlovian manner as particular aural triggers are pulled and stimulated.

This isn’t to damn The KVB; far from it. As evidenced by the opening one-two of ‘White Walls’ and ‘Night Games’, this is not only a continuation of a lineage but also an expansion, too. Both tracks throb and pump with a seductive suggestiveness while ‘Never Enough’ is infused with a pop sensibility, albeit a twisted and perverted one that more than drips with a sense of menace. This is music that’s shrouded in more layers of mystery than those of their antecedents.

Yet that said, it’s these layers that create a feeling of inscrutability that verges on anonymity that prevents us, or at least shields us, from knowing who The KVB really are, what they mean to say and what they stand for. In lesser hands, it would be difficult to shake the feeling that this would be a defense mechanism but here it feels like an attack strategy but you are left wondering if there’s some kind of secret or shame they’re conspiring to keep hidden from prying eyes.

But for all that, the sheets of reverbed guitar, synthesiser landscapes, echoed vocals and programmed beats that conspire to shroud the duo of Nicholas Wood and Kat Day add up to a whole that’s instantly recognisible while palpably new. Crucially, this is a path that’s now being laid on their own terms and nobody else’s. So much so, that the scavengers are soon to follow.

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