Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I'll never forget the first time I heard of kitchens of distinction. it was a write-up in spin's "heavy rotation" column, and read as follows (this is as close to a direct quotation as the 10+-year-old memory will let me pull up): "three men of varying sexual preferences met in a london supermarket and decided to start a band. they muss you up like neneh cherry if she played guitar and listened to the smiths." that was everything I needed, or ever (then) wanted to hear; I went to my local indie record store the next day and ordered love is hell (one little indian u.k., 1989) on import vinyl. when it came the next week, I took it home, unwrapped it, and put in on my turntable with breathless anticipation. from its opening notes, all of my expectations were met.

to my ears, kod were the most exciting guitar band to come out (of the u.k.) since the smiths. and my comparisons didn't stop there. both bands were led by openly gay singers, with voices which could caress or growl, depending on the demands of their lyrics. both were on indies (rough trade and oli). and both sounded so fresh and so clean, like the sound of something new.

kod took the waves-of-guitar from the shoegazers and married it to (semi-) traditional pop song structures. just listen to the coda (starting at 3:50) of "drive that fast," from their second album, strange free world (a&m, 1991). the intertwining lead figures dance atop a bed of rhythm chords alongside the bass and drums, on and on, until they can't go one step further and combust like the sun. meanwhile, patrick fitzgerald's vocals dive and soar within and -out of the commotion. there's an urgency to his voice, a needful pleading quality combined with a(n un)certain forcefulness and drive, pushing forward, taking no prisoners (except in love, which is a war of its own to him).

lyrics never less than honest (if ocassionally muddled - love'll do that), guitars simultaneously prodding and becalming, a rhythm section that did what it was supposed to (i.e. keep the beat), kod were magnificently true. add to that an all-too-rare quality in rock bands: they were unapologetically gay (well, patrick was, but the lead singer often makes the band) and sang about it. how could I not love a serious band with such qualities? [I don't love pansy division for the opposite reason: they seem too jokey to me.] kod disbanded in 1996 after increasing commercial failures (most notably in the u.s.). I wonder what they'd sound like today.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?