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The KVB - Only Now Forever (Album Review)

Friday, 19 October 2018 Written by Graeme Marsh

Post-punk, electronica, psych, shoegaze…a lot of labels have been affixed to the KVB over the last eight years. But this desperate pigeonholing isn’t a case of confused, straw-clutching journalism, more a reflection of the experimentation that Nicholas Wood and Kat Day have stuck to since their formation.

‘Only Now Forever’ is their sixth long player, and one that finds the duo seizing tighter control of their best qualities, no doubt illuminated by also handling production themselves. The “endless experimentations” they refer to when explaining their work space – their own Berlin apartment – in this case have more to do with fine tuning than running amok with expansive and diverse ideas. “We tried to focus on creating melodies and hooks that would stay with the listener long after the album ends,” they said.

The evidence supports their claims, too. With a sound entrenched in that glorious period of synth discovery that spanned the late '70s and early ‘80s, after pioneers like Kraftwerk had opened up a new world, there’s a lot to like here.

Opener Above Us harks back to those days, with its bouncy, catchy nature reminding us of everything that was cool about this new technology way back when. Like all good electronic music, there are layers of depth here that reveal themselves during repeated plays.

On My Skin is like New Order playing in a room adjacent to Pet Shop Boys, excelling in its reverb effects and sultry backing vocals courtesy of Day. Tides is fuller, with a chorus that boasts swathes of synths bursting from pulsing verses underpinned by constant two-note undulations.

But there’s also a darker side here. Afterglow is as catchy as it is foreboding, and is a safe bet to one day appear on the soundtrack to a futuristic horror flick. The brooding No Shelter, meanwhile, manages to bridge the gap between latter day Ladytron and early Human League with an added guitar hook, as does the more basic, sleazy Into Life. The synth onslaught during the climax of closing cut Cerulean is another highlight while the swooning serenity of Violet Noon recalls Australian psych-rock duo the Black Ryder.

The KVB have been lurking in the shadows for a while now, modestly supporting the likes of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Loop, but perhaps it’s time for them to step into the limelight. ‘Only Now Forever’ feels like a coming of age and, although a few rough edges and wonky detours remain, it’s possibly the most cohesive collection the band have released to date. It’s also one of their best.

The KVB Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed October 24 2018 - GLASGOW Hug And Pint
Thu October 25 2018 - NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Think Tank?
Fri October 26 2018 - MANCHESTER YES (The Pink Room)
Sat October 27 2018 - LEEDS Hyde Park Book Club
Sun October 28 2018 - YORK Crescent
Mon October 29 2018 - BIRMINGHAM Hare And Hounds
Tue October 30 2018 - BRIGHTON Green Door Store
Wed October 31 2018 - LONDON Corsica Studios
Thu November 01 2018 - BRISTOL Louisiana

Click here to compare & buy The KVB Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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