Fixation / White Walls EP by The KVBRelease date: May 19, 2017
Label: Invada Records
I cannot discuss The KVB in good conscience unless I also mention my friend Amber Crain, who tipped me to this UK duo a number of years ago. Formed in 2010 by Nicholas Wood and Kat Day, they got started with a number of limited cassette and vinyl releases.
Several albums followed, and the band has been very busy as they’ve moved in a more experimental, heavily electronic direction. They spin a variant of dreamy synth pop meshed with post punk that I find very appealing. Perhaps it’s the mysterious way they have about them, or the way their tunes hang out in a fog-shrouded part of my brain, one especially designed to receive and delight in this music.
You might say they’ve listened to Depeche Mode, OMD, and New Order a few times, but they have a spectral quality to their music that soars above their forebears. There’s also a gentleness to their songs that is evident; perhaps it’s the light touch they take with electronics, imbuing their songs with an ethereal air.
‘Fixation’ is one of two new songs here, and it’s a beauty. It contains all the elements I’ve touched on, and despite some chilly sonics, Nick’s voice infuses this song with warmth. It’s a grand example of synth pop, and I adore it. One song floats into another, and ‘Alarms’ also primes the pump, delighting me once again.
The remaining songs are all remixes of the brilliant ‘White Walls’, a cool song from 2016’s Of Desire. Each mix offers up something unique, changing the textures and pace of the original tune. The first mix is the ‘Invada Extended Mix’, and it reminds me the most of OMD. The ‘Berlin version’ is minimalist and trippy (and cool!), while ‘Mark Reeder’s Stoned Wall Remix’ reminds me of The Cure for some reason. I like its percolating beat, and the guitar work is interesting.
The final ‘TVAM Remix” is distorted and druggy, and sounds like a completely different band. I like all the variations; it shows what can be accomplished with creative remixing. All this makes me long for a new album, so I hope the band releases one soon.
Meanwhile, we have this EP to savor to tide us over until then. Highly recommended!