Every artist gets it. The cold sweats in the night, looming sense of anxiety, trepidation and unease: the inevitable task of penning that second album. R&B deity Lauren Hill has to be the ultimate one album wonder with her (formidable!) debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, only to fall out of the spotlight, not rating the music industry and/or celeb culture. Sure, the Sex Pistols may have released more records in the wake of their ’77 debut, but nothing comes close to matching the patriotic angst cool of their first definitive punk statement. Even local glamour pusses, The Darkness were hit hard by such a musical milestone and went from elaborate stage pyrotechnics to a fiery battle with drugs.
2012 sees peppy popsters, The Kabeedies take on the feat with the zealous vigour of teens but three years on from their debut release, Rumpus, the band have certainly grown from producing Fisher Price pop hits. New album Soap is released this month on indie label Fierce Panda and sees the group dabble in a whole host of new sounds, not to mention new musical accompaniments (who knew the indie upstarts were all in favour of accordions and reversed mandolins nowadays?).
New single, Eyes is a wash of lush reverb and brass trills (but with somewhat questionable 90s intro phaser…) while opening track (and surely, single number two!?) Hang Ups of the West, could make you wonder if you popped Paul Simon’s Graceland into the CD player with its funk fused bass line. Vocally, The Kabeedies share some of the boy-girl call and response brilliance of bands like The Selector and The Specials. There’s clearly elements of that two tone delight in live favourite and former single, Santiago as well as Come Out of the Blue and, to grapple with a metaphor if you will, this album appears like a recording of two tones.
Fans will rejoice in the familiar gaiety of Elizabeth and chirpy choral coo of Drowning Doll but it’s moments like L.T, that show this band really trying to carve out something beautiful with Soap. With the sparse ambiance of a Vampire Weekend opus, L.T is both unique in its sound but, sadly, also on the album. Yet, as the band themselves sing, “the lieutenant brings, what the lieutenant brings” and in this case, he’s at the top of his rank. If the rest of their new material can follow suit, The Kabeedies are primed to be the local leaders of a powerful new aural army.