Ah, KIEFF. You may not have heard of them, but for this reviewer this young band from Oegstgeest holds several reminiscences. KIEFF started out as a bunch of bratsqueal teens who memorably skateboarded via an previous Leiden squat complex. Then they morphed into an more and more proficient passion band who wrecked Wham!’s ‘Last Christmas’. Then there was the time they were thanks to enjoy the legendary Paradiso location for a “40 A long time of Dutch Punk” evening and rang me up in the center of Amsterdam to check with if the location was around the royal palace. This in the age of social media that their peers are meant to be adepts in. In retrospect, this act of lazy entitlement (inquiring muggins in this article for directions), was the most punk thing that happened that night. Why these tales? Properly it’s truly worth impressing that KIEFF are a bunch of lippy, lazy, uncoordinated, smarter-than-thou hedonists from the proper facet of the tracks. They can exasperate. No-a person has genuinely taken them critically up to now, on the other hand charming they could be. And check out as they may (which is not extremely hard) they will in no way be completely portion of the “Dutch underground” fable. This may possibly be in portion why they’ve unveiled this on the scene’s outlier label, Base Shelf Data (established up by the mighty Charlie and the Lesbians). And but, irrespective, KIEFF has built a debut document that is pretty damned great especially as the new music runs its class.
But, but, brace yourselves. To commence with you will not hear these kinds of a blatant get on The Homesick’s ‘Male Bonding’ as the album’s opener ‘Game Time’, at any stage in recorded historical past. It would be simple to laugh, but for shameless functions of sabotage like this, I hold a grudging respect. KIEFF have performed to The Dokkum Three what people mid 60s garage punks did: participate in ‘Louie Louie’ or ‘Satisfaction’ until eventually their fingers bled and the original misplaced so considerably of its primary DNA in the retelling that it became something else, even if the fundamental principles, the sonic skeleton if you will, remained the same. This nod to their mates carries on in part through the 2nd monitor, ‘Charm’. But I counsel you adhere in there to the third track, the short, sharp blast of ‘Copyshop 2.1’, to listen to what seriously passions me about this band. Immediately after a couple plays it’s very clear that KIEFF are a single of the very handful of different acts in the Netherlands who want to overtly, carelessly fuck about with pop melodies, in a way not read in yrs.
On repeated pay attention we could say there is some thing wilful and intentionally obtuse about KIEFF and their weird, moreish music. All people stops and begins – as in ‘The Infinite Research For Perfection’ – hark back to people smarter noughties American bands this sort of as Dirty Projectors or Shapes and Sizes, or Indian Jewellery for that make a difference. Older heads may perhaps say it’s all a little bit like Camper Van Beethoven when they coated ‘Interstellar Overdrive’, or the poppy bits of Yerself Is Steam period Mercury Rev. All these functions were capable to bend their participating in competencies to making music that expertly walked a line in between entertaining and irritating. The interludes on this LP are overall Bongwater, way too.
KIEFF is a record of surprises: ‘Pink Paint’ is a wonderful track that also looks to initially nod to The Homesick but slowly this affect melts absent to expose a rougher and a lot much more homegrown solution, the keys including a genuinely productive counterpoint when used. The pursuing keep track of, ‘Fresh Furniture’ runs with a few notions kicked up by ‘Pink Paint’ and tends to make some thing new again. These two tracks feel curiously joined at the hip, I never know why, but this is certainly the point wherever this report definitely begins to choose off and get loose. ‘Lost And Found’ is yet another eyebrow raiser, the bricolage of sound in the verse settling down to a Pixies do the job out of sorts in the counter melody. It is rabble rousing in its have peculiar way. The previous 3 figures, ‘Aftermath’, ‘Hank’ and the quite aptly named ‘Social Skills’ sort a strange form of triptych of shattered guitar operates and tumbling rhythms. By this phase, especially with ‘Social Skills’, the listener may possibly expertise a definite come to feel of uplift.
This is also a wonderful sounding record, as expected for one that has been recorded and blended at Remko Schouten’s Studio IJland and mastered at Henk Koorn’s Sahara Studios. The guitars are hefty and crisp, the bass bounces and the drums are pretty and entire. The bundle augurs perfectly for their subsequent report, if they pull their collective finger out. For now we can enjoy this, all 29 minutes of it.