Currently based out of Manchester, UK, the acclaimed shoegazers and JOVM mainstay outfit The KVB initially started in 2010 as the solo recording project of founder, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood. Wood released a series of limited cassette an vinyl releases as a solo recording project; but by 2011, vocalist, keyboardist and visual artist Kat Day joined the project.
In the decade since Day joined the project, The KVB have released several critically applauded albums and EPs through a number of different labels before signing to Geoff Barrow‘s Invada Records,who released 2018’s Only Now Forever. Interestingly, each of the duo’s acclaimed releases saw them crafting a sound simultaneously inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain and Cabaret Voltaire; however, with each subsequent effort, the band has managed to streamline their sound.
Through extensive touring across the European Union, the UK, China, Russia and Japan, the duo have amassed a devoted fanbase globally. Now, as you may recall during the pandemic, Day and Wood relocated from Berlin to Manchester to work on their sixth album, the Andy Savors-produced Unity. Slated for a November 26, 2021 release through Invada Records, the duo’s sixth album will reportedly represent a new and exciting development in their sonic development: Through the album’s ten songs, the duo pull together their trademark components, radiant guitars, textured synths and an near for a moody, brooding melody paired with a renewed dynamism.
Interestingly, the initial writing sessions for their forthcoming album took place in Spain during early 2019, where the duo found influence from the “half built luxury villas, still unfinished from the crash in 2008. There was something eerie and beautiful about the desolate landscapes and concrete in the sunshine,” the band says in press notes. While their sound and approach has always been informed by what seems like our inevitable dystopian future, there is also more of a rapturous release to the material. Thematically, the album combines double meanings and there’s a sleight of hand present.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “World on Fire,” a single that found the duo continuing to refine their sound: Starting with burst of drum machine, the song was centered around buzzing and slashing power chords, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a relentless motorik groove and a euphoric hook paired with the duo’s breathy boy-girl harmonies. Sonically, the track — to my ears, at least — found the duo pushing the boundaries of shoegaze in a similar fashion to Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and others while giving their sound a gauzy, New Order-like sheen.
“Unité,” Unity‘s latest single may arguably be their most dance floor friendly track of their growing catalog: Centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, and a relentlessly hypnotic, motorik groove paired with Kat Day’s ethereal deadpan delivery, “Unité” sounds as though it could have easily been part of the Trans Europe Express or Man Machine sessions. The duo explains that the new single is “a homage to our time living in Berlin, with the pounding kick drum and grinding electronics.” Te song is a perfect example of the Manchester-based duo meshing dark and light sensibilities in a seamless fashion: while being a euphoric club banger, the song references urbanization and its dystopian potential.
The recently released video is set in a dystopian future, much like that in Minority Report, in which the viewer is inundated by advertisements and screens.