Friday, 15 February 2013

The Kitchen Collective - Camp Gould Sentinel Mountains

Album review by kev@thesoundofconfusion.co.uk


One look at a title like 'Camp Gould Sentinel Mountains' and the 'Fleet Foxes Imitation' buzzer begins to sound. It's with fairly good reason too, but that needn't be a bad thing. Let's face it, anything remotely pastoral/acoustic/harmonious these days is going to be compared to either the US mob or Mumford & Sons depending on the particular strain of traditionally derived music it takes inspiration from. It's not quite that simple with The Kitchen Collective, a band who split their time between Germany and France. They neither have Appalachian canyons or British folk ingrained in their blood. And so their music may at times echo others, but it's no straight impersonation by any means.

Take 'A Far-Off Desire' for example; it's folky at heart like much of these songs, but dovetailed neatly with alt-rock so that such namby-pamby similar bands feel diluted by comparison. On 'The Getaway' they aim for an anthemic indie/folk/rock ballad; you know the sort, Snow Patrol release one every so often and it super glues itself to radio playlists everywhere. When The Kitchen Collective take a shot at one of these it's done with a lot more guts. 'You Don't Smile When It Hurts' nails the anthemic thing pretty well too. They can happily turn their hands to more traditional alt-rock, we know that from single 'Falling Deeper' and the storming 'Antarctica' or epic closer 'I Miss You'.

There are simple guitar and vocal ballads too. On the planet in general these are inescapable. Once again though, The Kitchen Collective make them less generic and more distinctive, there's never the urge to sterilise the personality out of them through over production. See 'To The End Of The World' or the distinctly pastoral yet full of life 'Roasted Coffee'. So there is the slight aftertaste of the recent trans-Atlantic acoustic revival to be found here, but what these guys have essentially done is to take music similar to those bands who you're now bored with and make it sound good again. It's not pre-packaged, off-the-peg acoustic rock, and for that alone it should be celebrated.




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