Once, the White Stripes proved that all you need is a loud guitar and some intense rhythms. Now, with gender roles reversed, Lucinda Livingstone and Conor Dawson (aka Kamikaze Girls), are delivering such honest personal music that their impact is undeniable. Sometimes it’s not about technical ability, songwriting skills or innovation; sometimes power, energy and emotion are all that matter, and boy do the Kamikazes have a healthy dose of that.
‘Seafoam’ opens with the graphic account of ‘One Young Man’, on which a plaintive vocal and a riff dripping with heavy emotion tell the story of Lucinda’s anxiety-inducing gunpoint robbery. ‘Berlin’ follows with a killer slice of up-tempo straightforward indie rock, both tracks showing the brutal honesty underpinning the entire record.
KG maintain a balance between anxiety and anger that adds emotional fuel to pretty much every track, be it the simple but effective upbeat indie-rock of ‘Teenage Feelings’, the raw take on waking up in hospital after an attempted suicide that is ‘Weaker Than’ or the punky rant ‘KG Go To The Pub’, featuring Ren from Petrol Girls, which is angry and awesome in equal measure.
There is a hint of filler to the lacklustre ‘Lights and Sounds’, but the overall standard remains pretty stunning. ‘Unhealthy Love’, for instance, is pure quality, with atmospheric guitar lines, surging rhythms and superb shifts in texture as the riffs kick in, while ‘I Don’t Want To Be Sad Forever’ offers up a downbeat, yet hard-hitting lament on the state of the world that makes for a fitting finale. Some versions feature a bonus track, ‘Anxious’, which returns to the ongoing anxiety tackled on ‘One Young Man’. Unurprisngly, it is another cathartic cut that lays the soul bare.
It is that catharsis; the scratching at an open wound in such brutally honest fashion, that makes this such an excellent record – buy it, play it on repeat, catch them on tour.
‘Seafoam’ by Kamikaze Girls is released on 9th June on Big Scary Monsters Records.
Words by Edward Layland (@EdwardLayland)