Kagoule are bright young things, newly active and now releasing their debut album, Urth. The trio take their cues from the late 80's and early 90's, specifically post-hardcore. For teenagers, this is accomplished stuff: the drums pound, the bass rumbles prominently, the vocals sound detached. On Earache.
6/10 Robin Staff review, 18 August 2015
Kagoule sounds like a big deal if you’ve followed Earache’s trajectory through time: we used to be talking grind and death, but now we’re talking melodic punx working their way through nimble riffs and showy string bends. Earache have taken left-turns before, from Sweet Tooth to Naked fucking City, but this one feels like a statement of intent: its moody sound relaxes into the sort of popular heavy rawk set up by early Foo Fighters and halcyon days Placebo, as well as a lot of '90s grumblers. ‘Urth’ isn’t a bad record; it’s just a roundabout turn for a seething metal label.
These tracks, trying to attach really fine riff work to choruses of obvious pop (like “Glue”, whose choruses are dulled around the edges in spite of nice guitar work), feel strangely overstuffed, combining what feel like separate ambitions into one record. “Damp Sand” conjoins dissonant strumming with a sparse bassline, reverberating vocals and hyperactive drum fills, feeling like about three different songs at once while still moving lethargically at the fore.
If Earache were pioneering a new sound, this change would be welcome, but ‘Urth’ ultimately feels like throwback season coming ‘round again, serving as a veritable grab-bag of the ‘90s: the Pixies on their quiet-loud dynamic, Unwound on their uncaring riffs, or the Pumpkins sadly intoning over a grungy melody. It’s not bad at all; just mixed up in a range of older sounds. Kagoule’s only real problem is that they don’t follow through; when they hit a sweet spot with a riff, they quickly dust it off for another fragment of sound, ignoring the glorious ‘Leaves Turn Inside You’-era one on “Centrawling” for a chunkier, less enveloping end.
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