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 Friday 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 their penchant for moody melodies and brooding vibes paired with a renewed dynamism.
The initial Unity writing sessions took place in Spain in 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.
In the lead up to the album’s release later this week, I’ve managed to write about two of the album’s singles:
- “World on Fire,” a track 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. The end result was a song, which featured elements that reminded m elf Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and others with a gauzy, New Order-like sheen.
- “Unité,” a dance floor friendly track, centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, a relentless and hypnotic motorik groove paired Day’s ethereal yet deadpan delivery. The end result is a song — that to my ears — sounded as though it could have been part of the Trans Europe Express or Man Machine sessions.
“Unbound,” Unity‘s final single continues a run of hazy and hypnotic material centered around glistening synth arpeggios, driving motorik grooves, the duo’s ethereal boy-girl harmonies and a euphoric hook. To my ears, the song sounds a bit like how I would imagine Evil Heat era Primal Scream covering Kraftwerk.
Directed by Sapphire Goss, the recently released video for “Unbound” follows the JOVM mainstays as they encounter a decaying monolithic structure in England. The structures seem to radiate a mysterious yet rhythmic signal of color and light — with a seemingly deeper meaning. Interestingly enough, the video manages is inspired by the album’s cover art, drawing influence from it.
“We’ve been fascinated by the sound mirrors that are on the south coast of England for a while now and were very pleased to know that Sapphire [Goss] shared our interest in these decaying, monolithic sculptures!” The KVB explain in press notes. “In fact, they were part of the inspiration for Unity’s album cover. It was great to finally visit one in real life,despite the wind and rain that came with filming there. For us, Sapphire’s dreamlike, analogue aesthetic feels like the perfect complement to Unbound’s hazy sound.”
“The video took the album cover imagery as the starting point, and the band were keen to use the sound mirrors- strange monolithic listening structures along the coastline, made obsolete by radar almost as soon as they were built,” Sapphire Goss adds. “The video reanimates these eerie monuments, showing them pulse out mysterious signals of light and colour. The film is made using a mix of analogue & digital effects- lenticular 3D & stereo loops shot on an 80s Nimslo (35mm) and an old Mamiya passport lens attachment that freeze moments in time & dance around them spatially, adding to the uncanny feeling.”