This is the Kit’s last album ‘Moonshine Freeze’ was something of a grower. An album that on first listen did not grab your attention but had enough about it to make you come back for more. It is only on repeated listens that its real merits come to the fore. One surprise was when Spotify (I know) told me it was the album I listened to most in 2017, the year of its release! This new album is actually their fifth album dating back to Krulle Bol in 2008, on the small french label Microbe records! This is their second release on Rough Trade.
This is the Kit is the name under which British musician Kate Stables performs. On this album, she is aided by the considerable talents of producer Josh Kaufman, the New York-based musician and sometimes Hold Steady collaborator. Kate Stables said of Josh “We were on the same page about a lot of musical ideas, as well as doing things I wouldn’t do musically. It was a lovely mixture of ‘you’re exactly in my brain and exactly at the opposite end of my brain.” The other performers on the album include Rozi Plain (bass/vocals), Neil Smith (guitar), Jesse D Vernon (guitar, keyboards) and Jamie Whitby-Coles (drum/vox).
There are few real surprises with the sound or feel of this album. Those that know the band will expect picked acoustic guitars with lush vocals and they will not be disappointed.
The album opens with Found Out, a swirling track that starts with guitar and vocals before adding various percussion sounds with the looping chorus like a voice in your head ‘what do you expect when you keep it so secret…’ The second song ‘Started Again’ is one of the highlights, with the brooding guitar and high octave vocals, before wafting horns are added in the background. Another highlight is “Coming to get you Nowhere” which starts with a barrage of horns before settling into the standard arrangement of guitars and vocals. The title track ‘Off Off On’ surprisingly feels like just another album track, rarely lifting its head above the parapet. The final track ‘Keep Going’ is faint and wafting, a gentle touch of piano and guitar to end the record.
While the album itself doesn’t immediately grab the listener, dare we say that there’s enough to keep one coming back for more? It’s not an album of anthems or raucous noise. It maintains its gentle sound throughout which makes it an easy listen, without the negative connotations. If you’re prepared to dig a little deeper, there are hints in the lyrics of the confusion of our times despite being recorded before the lockdown . It’s an album worth exploring in the long winter evenings ahead.
1. Found Out 03:30
2. Started Again 04:37
3. This is What You Did 03:13
4. No Such Thing 04:40
5. Slider 04:06
6. Coming to get you Nowhere 03:21
7. Carry Us Please 04:13
8. Off Off On 03:20
9. Shinbone Soap 04:18
10. Was Magician 04:27
11. Keep Going 06:39