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Kin - Dot Dot Dot [EP]

Kin - Dot Dot Dot [EP]

Invisible Girl Records

Review 2297 Views
Last Edited by: Chris MUG5 Maguire January 22nd, 2010.

Another pleasant surprise as a thunderous opening (all tumbling drums and aggressively overdriven guitars) gives way to a vocal so over-emotional it makes Karen O sound like Cheryl Cole. Indeed Stockport native Kin is in possession of a rather unique set of pipes which have a histrionic quality not dissimilar to miss O or fellow indie pin-up Conor Oberst. In fact if Mr and Mrs O were to spawn an ungodly indie infant it would probably end up sounding an awful lot like the 27 year old singer-songwriter who says her music is influenced in equal parts by Radiohead, Portishead and Bjork; it shows. That's no bad thing though as on her debut EP 'dot dot dot' Kin manages to distil the essences of all 3 into something quite unique and never less than engaging.

The raw, punchy opener 'Something Stupid' leads into 'How To Speak' with it's circular guitar riffs and sparse electronic glitches as Kin's voice floats above a bed of gentle reverb. It wouldn't have sounded out of place on Radiohead's 'Hail To The Thief'. The song builds to a striking crescendo with the band more than holding their own. In fact despite all appearances to the contrary this is very much a 'band' record with some stunning work from the rhythm section especially. Centre-piece of the record 'Little Mind' cements this fact, revealing subtle textures to the band dynamic as Kin does her best Polly Harvey impression over a backing track which would have done Jeff Buckley proud.

'Chemistry Set' takes the electronic side of Kin's personality to another extreme as vocal tics are manipulated into a claustrophobic beat with nothing but a haunted synth pad providing a melodic counter-point. It's eerily reminiscent of Portishead's darker than black 'Third' album and when it 'kicked in' after a minute and a half I was actually quite disappointed, I could have quite happily settled with the song the way it was. Although saying that there is something to be said for the restless nature Kin and her band posses, never happy to let a song just 'be' when it could always morph into something else entirely. Thankfully this instinct is set-aside for the haunting closer 'Hibiscus' which again invokes the spirit of the late Jeff Buckley. Sparse percussion and guitar wrap around a restrained vocal performance from Kin in which she cryptically mixes sexual and violent imagery "the body moves in pulsating tenderness", "there is a beat to your breaking bones" as the track builds in steady tension. There's a palpable push and pull at work here as the song teases out a climax which never arrives.

There's much to enjoy here within all 5 tracks and if a long-player can manage to maintain this level of quality then I see a bright future ahead for Kin. "dot dot dot" is a densely atmospheric record with charm to spare and is the perfect musical frame for Kin; an underground star in ascent.

Photo by Rob Gregg

1. Something Stupid
2. How To Speak
3. Little Mind
4. Chemistry Set
5. Hibiscus

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