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The arrival of the long awaited new album (about 20 years to be exact!) from Kitchens Of Distinction sparked a debate here at Norms over which was their best album, Chris and Phil say 'Love Is Hell' but I say definitely 'Death Of Cool'. After such a long absence though, this is a bit of an odd comeback from these old shoegazers. Back in the day they rode the top of the indie charts alongside great bands like Ride, Curve, Lush and other floppy haired indie boys and girls.
From the beginning sounds of 'Folly', not a lot has changed in the KOD camp though, washes of effects drenched guitars along with Patrick Fitzgerald's shimmering vocals still remain, what is missing though is the lack of a pop hook that they had so many of. The songs here are very dramatic and a little bit sad; 'Photographing Rain' has elements of old but without any real punch or sparkle, 'Japan To Jupiter' is really trying it's best to be Bowie-esque but doesn't really deliver the magic.
What lets it down the most is the production, with past KOD records having a really big wall of sound feel to them, this is all really low in the mix, the guitar is a little weedy and the drums almost non-existent. I almost feel like I want this album to be great but unfortunately it never really surpasses their former glory. The one great song on this album is 'I Wish It Would Snow', if the whole album was more like that it would be much better, sorry boys!
9/10 Jezzamy Customer review, 1st November 2013
Is this comeback album as good as I hoped it would be? Yes. It's not quite as upbeat as their earlier LP's but it more than makes up for that in being (not surprisingly) more mature lyrically, having finer musical textures and just being so damn beautiful. Despite these differences the 'classic Kitchen's sound' is still in there and after three listens I'm beginning to love this album.
Patrick is in good voice (along with guitar and piano), Julian's guitar is magical (as always) and there's some wonderful percussion going on here from Dan. The sound is more acoustic than most of the older stuff but this doesn't diminish the power of the music. A rather autumnal and slightly ominous tone can be felt in some of the songs, this could as much be due to Patrick's recent illness as it could reflect the state of the world. All this doesn't mean that we have a miserable record at all as there are many joyful parts and moments of wondrous uplift - remember, this is a Kitchens album.
I'd single out 'I Wish It Would Snow' as capturing the overall feel of the record with it's wistful lyrics accompanied by a real sonic beauty of sound. So far 'Photographing Rain' is may favourite track but that could change in time of course. And check out the lovely artwork too, perhaps their best yet.
There's an almost timelessness to the album by which one couldn't easily place it within a definable musical era (if they still exist!), that doesn't mean it can't be seen as one of the most enjoyable, honest and beautiful albums of 2013, because it is. Thanks guys.
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