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October 24, 2007

Kosheen–Damage

Title:
Rating:
2 out of 5 stars

Kosheen are a group almost destined for obscurity. A quick straw poll of people I know revealed that few, if any, could remember the group- which is some achievement considering their last effort 2003 Kokopelli went Gold in the UK. The years following this saw the band move to Universal Germany-a record label that doesn’t release albums in the UK. A move straight from the Sandinista! school of how to lose money in the music industry. In subsequent years I have to admit being totally oblivious to the need for another Kosheen album, but here it is. The album is a halfway house between the electronica of the bands first album (Resist) and this (the follow ups) commercial edge. The result is a musical anachronism, the sound of the late 90’s, many of the tracks feel as if they would be at home as backing music in an old style 90’s gothic teen drama (Buffy, Angel, Roswell et al) They bring to mind the clutch of Faithless tracks featuring Dido on vocals and musically the best way to describe vocalist Sian Evans emotional delivery would be to imagine a voice somewhere between Dido and my washing machine. The often emotionless vocals are aided by the walls of neutered synthesiser and insipid beats of the other two members of the band, who as far as I’m concerned could well be R2D2 and C3P0 from Star Wars, surely no human could provide such an uninspired accompaniment.

Instead of buying this album, imagine the attempts at baggy/electronica that pepper the first Kasabian album with a hollow drone over the top. The album is also simply too long. At 16 tracks it’s an extremely tasking record to sit through, its worst crime is the mediocrity-some tracks, such as the title track and Wish You Were Here could be fantastic. Instead they simply hint at hidden depths and achingly beautiful song writing white washed by the walls of lifeless grey noise draped over them. This is functional music, music to iron to; music to put in a Natwest advert. It is certainly not music to fall in love to and to carry around in your heart forever. It’s a shame really you feel released 3 years ago half as long twice as raw, this could have been a contender.

Dave Toulson


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