Karma for Vandals and a Wealth of Demos

Rating: 5/5

From day one of my awareness of the inclusive music project, Karma For Vandals, orchestrated by Scott Bathgate and Duncan Burgess, I’ve been a fan. This is not only for their being kind enough to include me in its early days but more simply because what they were doing was unlike any other instrumental rock band I know. Sure, there are certainly comparisons one could conjure, such as Mogwai, or Godspeed You! Black Emperor, yet while I wouldn’t go far to argue against there being some degree of influence, there is something undefiably different about KFV.

I can imagine no contemporaries so perfectly leaping from a spacey and psychedelic funk jam into a hard-rock/metal-esque dynamic climax, and later into a barrage of ethereal screaming guitars wailing over a Michael Miller’s distorted bass riff, quite like they do on ‘DRD (The Ins & Outs of Combat Juggling)’.

‘Kev’ lures us in nicely with a sweet and jangly riff before shocking us with a heavily distorted, monstrous stop-and-start section before calming back down and bringing into the light a noisy, squealing bottle-neck guitar solo. If you happen to come into contact with either Duncan or Scott, I strongly advise you to ask about the tracks title, it’d be worth your time.

To me, ‘Gelatelli’ is the pinnacle of perfect within these demos. It starts with a gentle and tuneful passage with an ear-worm of a guitar hook before slipping into a passage with incredibly tight drums from Murray Bartle and further catchy hooks. The track leaps into a massive distorted chorus with interweaving textures over the top creating a beautiful and hypnotic instrumental which quite aptly sums up the bands’ sound.

Check out this release on their bandcamp and if you can, see them live; they recently put on a stunning showcase at a gig put on by The Orpheus Collective, as music group KFV, which I and many other experimental music acts are involved in.

KFV: A band whose song titles are almost as hilarious as their soundscapes are breath-taking.

Image Credit: Karma For Vandals

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