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hAND - 'Kintsugi' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/97/14/e7/hand-kintsugi-18-1423424401.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 08, 2015    
 
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This band need a re-think as to where their future lies.

Following on from the release of two EPs and two albums since their inception in 2004, this Sussex four-piece band release their third album 'Kintsugi', more than three years after 'Breathing' came out to critical acclaim, continuing the praise that was heaped upon their debut 'Deadroom Journal' with it being described as "totally ground-breaking in such a genre".

Eclectic 'Kintsugi' certainly is, with various dynamics and introspective meanderings making them quite unique, featuring bassist, pianist and vocalist Kat Ward, guitarist Kieren Johnstone, drummer Dan Thomas and augmented by newest full-time member on synths Tom Johnstone. However, it largely comes across to me as a lot of female angst, like a repressed singer/song-writer decided to get a band together to Rock it up a little.

Opening song 'Level 1' starts off in a modern day Marillion-esque fashion before morphing into a Progressive heavy vibe and followed by 'Windlestraw' which has a lot of heavy dynamic guitar parts.

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'Anthem (Ode To The Giddy)' has a lyrical take based on the first flourishes of female desire/love that is kind of at odds with the music but it does feature interesting drum patterns from Thomas. In actual fact, Thomas is their ace card as he sounds like he's been schooled in the art of a Neil Peart master-class. Guitarist Kieren Johnstone is no slouch either as both of them conjure up some fabulous musical pieces as evidenced on 'Volcanic Panic' and 'Hide You'. Although Tom Johnstone is sparsely used, when he is called upon to add colour here and there, it's not wasted.

Unfortunately Kat Ward is the weak link with her breathy monotone vocals adding neither depth nor expressive emotion to any of the songs on offer here. Her bass playing is competent at best but after ten years together with Ward fronting this act, it doesn't surprise me that they aren't a household name signed to a major label or big independent due to this fact, even though sometimes this kind of twee Indie Rock is all the rage amongst the left wing darlings of the music industry.

'Through The Big Door, Up The Stairs And Out' has clever lyrics and an extended instrumental ending similarly alongside 'Nebula' where the guys get to stretch their musical muscle and Ward proves that she's adept on the piano as shown on the intro to 'Amazing Burn', but when the afore-mentioned 'Volcanic Panic' an contrastingly shambolic ending it's clear that this band need a re-think as to where their future lies.

Carl Buxton

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