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The KVB @ The Hug and Pint, Glasgow

24 October 2018

The KVB’s lush audio/visual union creates a palpable sensation of vicarious memories as they pulsate and shoegaze their way through tonight’s set at The Hug & Pint

Published in The Skinny

Forgiveness can be granted tonight for confusing The Hug & Pint with a dingy Berlin basement pre-fall of the wall. It’s densely dark, breathing space is sparse, and a post-punk gloom is unmistakable by the sullen brows ubiquitous around the room. In addition, the agenda from both acts is to provide a pulsating soundtrack for use at high speed on the autobahn.

Derry-based Autumns lays down the scene quickly and thickly with his pounding industrial electro. The end-to-end, wall-to-wall metallic clanging and robotic whipping is an intense opener, and when his distressed, radio-reverb vocals are layered over the established madness, it makes him out to be a crazed trucker seizing the highways and airwaves. Advance the clock by six hours and this dungeon, lit by the dim glimmers of a glitter ball, would be positively fired-up, but the pre-watershed slot proves to be his Achilles heel for galvanising the chilly crowd.

British duo The KVB commence with the sweeping and throbbing overture of Only Now Forever, the title track from their freshly pressed sixth album – self-recorded in their apartment on their adopted Berlin turf. Shades of Deutschland are most definitely present here. Nicholas Wood’s shimmering shoegaze guitar is pin-point perfect against the backdrop of Kat Day’s plodding electro. When Wood’s reverbed-to-high-heavens vocals bleed into the mix, captivation sinks in, which is elevated even higher when Day’s breathy backing presents itself.

The set’s balance between their lighter and darker sides is deftly handled – never are we up or down for too long. In regard to the latter: from Afterglow’s dread-inducing opening note, its hulking, distorted menace marches through the room without clemency as Wood warns, ‘Here comes the night’ repeatedly. Bolstered by retro visuals of a looming neon cityscape, the look, sound and feel of this cut is fierce, cold and seedily urban.

Day is also the architect behind the dual stream of psychedelic visuals that beam behind and beside them. For the lion’s share of the set, Wood is engulfed wholly by the side projection, and the mesmerising result is his body alive with shifting colour and texture, while his shadow is lost amongst it on the wall alongside. Moments of perfect nexus between video and audio evoke a vicarious and near-palpable sensation of the memory of others.

The tempo eases up for Violet Noon. A jangled guitar plays distantly, almost half-recalled, and a scuzzy synth creates a haze through which the pair’s airy vocals volley to and fro. Their emotive backdrop shows Wood and Day on a cliffside, blanketed in blissful sunshine that exists only in reverie. Seldom are their faces seen in full; always are they walking away, and when they go to turn, it cuts. The glitchy editing and layered images create a sense of frustration that the memory unfolding before us is missing facets, a fractured glance into their past that will never be whole again.

The set is short and tight. Despite plentiful material, they tap out before saturation can hinder the glory of their carefully curated construction. Their sound, visuals and moody presence is an invigorating injection that leaves one desiring another fix.



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