If there’s one thing that The KVB has mastered in their six years as a slinky shoegaze duo, it’s conjuring intrinsic nostalgia. With the release of their fourth album Of Desire, visions of goths grinding to new wave in grungy clubs play out in your memory, regardless of whether you’ve even witnessed that kind of phenomenon.
Before lead singer Nicholas Daly even utters a bemoaned syllable on opening track “White Walls,” the heady, looping synth forms a prediction: is this The Cure? The Church? The specters of the 80s past lingers in the track, yet what The KVB has created contains the crispness of 2016 recording technology.
Following track “Night Games” ups the energy a bit with snappy drumming, but not by much. That same inherent disinterested calm of the album is how all ten songs swirl together majestically. There might not be a strong integrity to each track, but the album is far more atmospheric than a string of cherry-picked singles, the format of most modern albums.
In it’s entirety, Of Desire is 80s robo-pop revisited. While highly experimental, the entire record is a recreation of the half-techno, half-minimal wave music of decades past that eventually evolved and dissipated in the 90s. The vocals are strategically drowned out to a tortured muffle so that the focus of each song is the vibrations echoing from the lo-fi synths.
Despite the masterful uniformity, the record has a few songs that go against the other track’s hypnotizing current. “V11393” is an industrial, glittery dance number, and “Second Encounter” hums like the approach of a foreboding alien spacecraft with guitar and mournful as any new wave power ballad. Most strikingly, “Never Enough” has the same synth patterns as a remake of Depeche Mode‘s “Personal Jesus,” causing déja vu on nearly every introspective listen.
Former 80s bad kid or underground aficionado, Of Desire wholeheartedly satisfies and serves up languid electro-dirges to play while exploring the void.
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