Wednesday 13 November 2013

Review: Kosheen – 'Solitude'


Chart flirting dance-rock outfit Kosheen are back with the follow up to last year's upbeat and unshackled 'Independence'. This time the band veer back into darker and more atmospheric waters with 'Solitude'. The trio's minimalistic techno and trip-hop influences take centre stage once more for a satisfyingly melancholic journey.

The album blends the experimentalism of How To Destroy Angels, the mournful atmospherics of Portishead and the sheer appeal of Massive Attack. Tracks such as 'Save Your Tears', 'Harder They Fall', 'Observation' and 'Up in Flames' provide the album with its more danceable numbers making good use of catchy synth melodies and steady beats. While the likes of 'And Another', 'I' and 'Solitude' bring the more experimental edge as they utilise more unrestrained but equally dark song structures underpinned by that prevailing trip-hop edge.
The use of harsher elements and flirtations with dubstep meld nicely with the overall sombre yet psychedelic atmosphere of the album and bring it all into almost post-industrial territory. But this does feel a lot more like an album for introverted and relaxed listening despite the club cuts in the track list. The haunting vocals are at times low in the mix, interacting with the synths like another layer of instrumentation. The up shot of this is that you never quite know what to expect with every track. But in terms of the execution, it is always flawless.

'Solitude' is a great album. It is lively enough to continue to keep one foot in the mainstream. But like bands such as Portishead, or even more rock orientated groups like Editors, it has the pronounced dark edge that allows for underground appeal as well. This should further validate Kosheen's new found independent status away from major label backing.

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