Kagoule don’t seem like the kind of band that people would encourage you to visit their gigs on their premise that “it’s gonna go off!” At the same time, there’s enough firepower to their carefully crafted alt-rock that punters would find themselves in heavy motion at a live show without realising how it happened.
2015 debut ‘Urth’ was a carefully crafted balance of meandering passages with scuzzed up flashes of distortion injected throughout, surmised in single ‘Glue’ beginning as a swampy jam band session before metamorphosing into a confident anthem. On second full-length, ‘Strange Entertainment’, they’ve continued this blueprint with affirmation.
From a glance, ‘Strange Entertainment’ thrives off an effortlessly cool playing style, preferring to let compositions meander on ‘Egg Hunt’ and ‘Too New Too Soon’. Even when these songs transform from lackadaisical bliss to hefty slabs of grunge-infused distortion, Cai Burns and Lucy Hatter keep their composure as vocalists that keep the track under control.
This overall restraint sets Kagoule apart from a lot of bands they share the stages with. While contemporaries in Drenge or Inheaven let their songs fly off the handle to stunning effect, ‘Monsieur Automaton’ and the oddly disjointed ‘Balance’ keep their frantic instrumentation secondary to their front people’s silky harmonising.
‘Strange Entertainment’ is a curious affair, awash with ambiguous themes and unpredictable song structures, but there’s an assured confidence that shines across Kagoule’s performance. But once you stop asking questions and let these songs take you on their caustic-yet-comfortable journey, that’s when these songs will start to go off.
‘Strange Entertainment’ by Kagoule is released on 26th October on Alcopop! Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)