Kitchens Of Distinction - The Death Of Cool
Yet it is hard to figure out why this should be, particularly when listening to what is probably their least commercial release, The Death of Cool. The melodies are strong and memorable and the layers of guitars are at times luscious in their profusion and vitality. Unlike earlier releases, this was not aimed at the commercial market, but more at hardening the cult following the band had developed thus far. It may be that Kitchens of Distinction had decided not to continue to strive for commercial success and this may explain why they have been overlooked.
That is a shame, for there is some excellent music here. However, the album is rather inconsistent and if I have one general criticism it is that the voice of Patrick Fitzgerald does not seem to fit the style of music very well. Maybe it is a personal idiosyncrasy, but his vocal style sounds more appropriate for the Britpoppers Kitchens of Distinction never were instead of the dream poppers from which they derived some of their inspiration. The nearest approximation to another vocalist I can think of is The Psychedelic Furs' Butler, but Fitzgerald manages to hold a key better than Butler ever could. Yet whereas Butler often wrote nonsense lyrics, Fitzgerald wrote from the heart, and many of his songs reflect the tribulations of a young gay man in a changing London.
But the voice aside, you can't fault the quality of the music and the lyrics. There is a mixture of short, punchy songs, and longer songs which offer greater flexibility. Of the former, the angry attack on homophobic violence in "Breathing Fear" and the snappy "Smiling" stand out. However, the longer tracks are what really defines the quality of the album, and come as something of a relief after hearing the two opening and, it has to be said, rather disappointing numbers, "What Happens Now" and "4 Men".
"Gone World Gone" sees Fitzgerald's voice pushed to the back of the sound mix as layers of guitar dominate the mix. "Blue Pedal" is more mellow and philosophical, both in terms of tempo and content, but the real highlight is the magnificent "Mad as Snow". A quiet intro comprising a single guitar while the lyrics speak of the joys of a relationship looking back from a position of nostalgia, tinged with regret. As the lyrics end, the volume and quantity of the guitars begins to increase until you find yourself in a luxurious bliss-scape of swirling guitar interplay which takes up half the length of the track.
It is a matter of regret then that the music of Kitchens of Distinction never got them more recognition at the time. Perhaps in retrospect it is time to re-evaluate their position in the music firmament. If so, then one could do worse than starting with The Death of Cool.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.