The Kut – Valley of Thorns

The Kut by Canz Rickman

There is no doubt that the recent release of new single Mind Games stirred up a fresh hunger in an already in place appetite for the eagerly anticipated debut album from The Kut, in us and a great many others. Truth is we had already been hooked on the band’s contagious punk grumble ’n’ roll through their previous EPs but the new track’s fresh adventure and imagination brought fresh intrigue and pleasure to devour. It ensured that Valley of Thorns was leapt upon with rude eagerness and the fuse to further pleasure lit.

The album brings live favourites, some of which already known from those previous encounters, and brand new creative provocations; a union providing one rousing and increasingly impressive, dare we say essential slab of rock ‘n’ roll. Within its striking body it roars and seduces, attacks and coaxes, all the time infesting and manipulating ears, body, and imagination in a way which reminds of punk rock in its seventies prime but is all modern fire and attitude.

The Kut is the alter-ego of multi-instrumentalist Princess Maha and live a sonically ferocious trio completed by the moodily infectious basslines of Stella Vie and the swinging beats of Diana Bartmann. With their reputation growing by the year since emerging in 2010, The Kut has exploded upon venues across the UK and Europe and earned rich praise playing festivals such as Download, Camden Rocks, Nice N Sleazy, Rebellion, Hard Rock Hell, Glastonbudget, and Strummercamp. Support and acclaim has been rife across the media, radio and written press alike, and last year saw the band become a finalist in the Rock category of the UK Songwriting Contest 2017 as well as being a current Semi-Finalist of the International Songwriting Competition. It has been a busy and successful time which the release of Valley of Thorns can not only escalate but nurture The Kut as a household name.

Produced by James LeRock Loughrey (Skindred, White Zombie, My Vitriol, Bjork, Def Leppard), Valley of Thorns kicks off with its lead single, Mind Games teasing the senses with its sonic mist before boldly strolling through ears with a Deftones meets Spinnerette like captivation. There is a haunting air and emotive depth to the song yet it has a virulent swing to its gait and rhythmic persuasion which has the body swaying and appetite greedy in no time. A track epitomising the seductive persuasion and nagging irritability in The Kut’s sound, it is pure mesmerism which has become stronger and more striking across multiple plays.

The album’s stirring start continues with the rebellious rock ‘n’ roll of Hollywood Rock N Roll, a virulent slice of anthemic temptation which had us bouncing and roaring in no time with its Babes In Toyland/ Spinnerette-esque stomp. The latter of the two is a band which often frequents thoughts across the album, its snarls and instinctive catchiness reminding of the band even in a sound which is pretty much distinct to The Kut.

The following No Trace swings in like a predatory temptress, grooves writhing around ears with an almost salacious touch as dark hues of bass growl and beats firmly strike. It is a scuzzy affair, the songs body a muggy grunge trespass contrasted by Princess Maha’s harmonic vocal caresses which offer their one lining of danger. It too has a haunted sigh to its croon which just enslaved attention before I Want You Maniac grips ears with initially a gorgeous low slung hook and subsequently its infection loaded swing. A tinge of L7 lines its tenacious enterprise, a whiff of Hole its encroaching shadows; the song a volatile sonically visceral encroachment just impossible to have too much of.

The blossoming diversity within The Kut’s sound is superbly shown in next up Love In The Rush Hour, the song a collusion of harmonic kisses and predacious intent. It strolls with the inherent swing which effortlessly springs from the band’s invention but aligned to a caustic glaze of guitar amid fuzz twisted riffs; an entangling of contrasts which is as compelling as Princess Maha’s vocal temptation who at times can be described as being like the UK Brody Dalle.

I Am Vain is dirty rock ‘n’ roll with attitude flowing from every pore but as naturally infectious as anything within the album; its punchy nature spawning its own unique hooks and skilled enterprise while the mellower climate of Alekhine’s Gun breeds a prowling volatility which erupts in sonic flames and vocal abrasions; its irritations and discontent erupting and spewing rancor before simmering down back into the song’s relative calm. Though neither track quite match the heights of those before them each leaves ears and appetite greedy for more whilst revealing new shades in The Kut’s adventure.

A calmer air is brought by X-Ray Eyes too though unsurprisingly it has an inbred growl which fuels bold rhythms and its suggestive character plus an increasingly addictive catchiness which has song and the body bouncing as the first contemplates and the second submits to its moody enslavement. Its success though is soon eclipsed by that of Bad Man. A multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll virulence, the track is like a boiling cauldron spiced by the punk juices of Bikini Kill, the dark rock ‘n’ roll of  Jess and the Ancients Ones, and the infectious agility of Sleater-Kinney; it all brewing up into another individual Kut intoxication.

The album is completed by Mario, a raw pop ‘n’ rock encounter as beguiling as it is aggressive. Throughout the album another band which at times comes to mind is seventies outfit The Photos through the pop hues open within The Kut’s sound. Here alone there are coincidental echoes in its infectious traits which only add to the fun.

Being already hooked by their earlier releases, we were always likely to head into Valley of Thorns with a favourable disposition but swiftly it outshone anticipation heights, the new songs alone suggesting The Kut is ready to grab attention from the biggest names in attitude soaked rock ‘n roll.

Valley of Thorns is released via Cargo Records / Criminal Records on 13th April in the UK and Europe and May 18th in the US.

Forthcoming Tour Dates

TBA April Album Launch Party, London

26.05 Strummercamp Festival, Oldham

27.05 Nice n Sleazy Festival, Morcambe

02.06 Camden Rocks Festival, London – 2pm The Monarch

30.06 Rat InFESTation 2, Facebar, Reading

06.07 Amplified Festival, Gloucestershire

07.07 The Cotswold Inn, Cheltenham

14.07 Wemstock Festival, Wem

22.07 Tramlines Fringe, The Royal Standard, Sheffield

2/3/4/5 August: Rebellion Festival, Blackpool

http://thekut.co.uk    http://facebook.com/thekut   http://twitter.com/thekutgirlsrock   http://instagram.com/thekutofficial

Pete RingMaster 04/04/2018

Broken Links: Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene

There has been a little bit of a stir brewing around UK rock band Broken Links and after hearing their debut album Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene a few times it is easy to see why. To be fair it only took a couple of engagements with the vibrant and compelling release to be convinced but such its magnetic and powerful pull the resistance to returning time and time again was weaker than a paper boat in a tempest.

Since forming around four years ago, the trio from Southampton has seen a slow but very solid rise with their potent mix of post punk, rock, and industrial rock with strong whispers of new wave, winning over hearts consistently along the way. Certainly locally they are one of the most talked about bands and with the release of a trio of well received EPs have built a fan base which is loyal and feisty whilst moving farther afield. Influences come from the likes of Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Manic Street Preachers and Bush, flavours which Broken Links evolved into their own unique sound. The result is songs which trigger all the keen responses and taste buds their inspirations ignited, whilst opening up new depths of pleasure for themselves. Their eclectic sound also makes the band an easy and effective fit with many genres which their sharing of stages alongside bands such as British Sea Power, The Boxer Rebellion, InMe, My Vitriol, 22, Official Secrets Act, Fighting with Wire, and The Xcerts shows.

Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene brings many of the tracks which featured on those early self released EPs with a couple of new ones to create a stirring and towering expanse of emotive and melodic invention. Even though the release strikes a match to open a full magnetism towards its sounds from the start, the more impressive it becomes with time spent in its striking aural arms. Evocative and impactful, the album leaves one breathless and invigorated whilst fully charged to dive into its shadows and immense soundscapes again and again.

The release opens on the sonic simmering of Electrik, though the track soon explodes into a sonically burning sunrise of mesmeric charms.  It is impossible not to be rocked back on ones heels by the mighty vocals of guitarist Mark Lawrence and the electronic blistering which ignites the atmosphere of the song like a cascade of hot golden rain. The rhythms of drummer Phil Boulter form a magnetic frame whilst bassist Lewis Betteridge is a prowling and imaginative shadow to the synths and expressive guitar of Lawrence. The track itself is a ravenous mix of Depeche Mode, My Preserver, and Muse, though the one band which did come to mind during the song was Ultravox, the early version before John Foxx and guitars became redundant.

Within Isolation and What Are You Waiting For? Raise the temperature even higher with their thumping urgency and inventive craft. The first is a sinewy romp of energetic vocals and riffs wrapped in riotous intent and acidic sonic manipulation, a barnstormer of an affair whilst the second explores darker corners of the sound with a smouldering heavy post punk resonance and metallic sonic licking of the senses. A Joy Divison starkness combines with  barbed Comsat Angels like hooks to leave one drooling and when the atmospheric grandeur of Modern English wraps its emotive muscular arms around the song nothing but passion is apace. It is a track which reaps the riches of the eighties yet still is of the now, the band nurturing and evolving those seeds once again into something quite irresistible and distinct to themselves.

Great tracks come thick and fast, each song without fail leaving deep pleasure and ardour behind their accomplished ingenious lures. Tracks such as the brilliant electro rock/pop  triumph We’re All Paranoid, the two part grandeur that is Choice/Decay, with Part I a chilled ambient and slightly disturbing build into the stunning crescendo of Part II, and the swaggering Shelter Your Loss, just captivate and evoke more and more heated enthusiasm.

Hitting even greater pinnacles with the snarling Therapy Sessions In The Dark and potently contagious Cherno, not forgetting the gloriously inciting What Are You Addicted to?, the album expertly and skilfully explores across styles and emotions. Melancholic and reflective, warm and oozing positivity, Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene is a true giant of a release and surely the first massive and impressive step to wide recognition for Broken Links.

http://www.brokenlinksmusic.co.uk

RingMaster 16/11/2012

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