The KVB – Minus One: mystery tinged but lacks invention

4370154COMBINING walls of fuzzy guitar noise with drum machine beats and chunks of synth, comparisons to the likes of New Order and My Bloody Valentine come as inevitably as Sebastian Vettel winning yet another grand prix. Somewhat unfortunately, these impeccable influences always leave a feeling that Minus One never quite reaches its full potential. There is however plenty to like about the third effort from the London duo. Bringing in elements of psych rock and trap adds an interesting element and prevents it from sounding like a mere tribute album; ‘Endless’ penetrates deep into your head with a swirling, threatening drone and the seven minute long ‘Dominance/Submission’ sounds like paranoia, fear and hedonism mixed into a cocktail of euphoric gloom.

It is easy to get lost in the meditative pulse of this album, but on a closer listen the lack of any real adventure or dynamism becomes apparent. The vocals of Nicolas Wood are delivered in the same indecipherable murmur throughout, which adds to the mystery but leaves the listener feeling slightly detached, like a pedestrian on the side of a busy night time carriageway. It’s dangerous and hypnotising, yet seperate and uncrossable at the same time.

The record was produced in a home studio by Nicolas Wood and Kat Day in just five days and is a definite change from second album Immaterial Visions, also released this year. While that record was heavier, more urgent and melodically diverse, Minus One too often feels lacklustre. ‘Something Inside’ sounds straight from MVBs Loveless, and ‘Passing By’ falls into a dirge that fails to hold attention.

Ultimately there is promise in this album, and if the bands prolific recording record (three albums in less then two years) is anything to go by, a follow up should be expected soon. It could be brilliant, if The KVB can shake off the comparisons and attempt to put an individual stamp on their music.

Best Tracks: ‘Dominance/Submission’, ‘Endless’, ‘Again and Again’

Rating: 5/10