This isn’t what we were expecting, which was some kind of organic indie: Kagoule are far more ambitious than that and this is an impressive debut.
Despite being from Nottingham, Kagoule’s heads are over in the US, their sound being that underground rock the Americans do so well, somewhere between Californians Incubus and Billy Corgan’s Smashing Pumpkins. Fans of the genre could probably name other more obscure influences — we did wonder if the band name is because spotting influences is a music anorak’s favourite hobby.
From opener Gush it’s clear where the album is heading: after a gentle start, Gush bangs straight into Pumpkins land, with more of the same with track two, Adjust The Way. Gush leans towards the more chilled Incubus sound, track two the more intense Pumpkins. In other places it goes a bit grungy and there’s even a little bit of screaming in the vocals, all very Nirvana.
Musically this is ambitious, with lots of changes and variation, though Kagoule are team players and there’s not a huge amount of solo virtuosity; everyone plays their part. The vocals range between the low sung and more muscular bits.
There’s not much to say really: we’d say Kagoule are heading for a slow but steady ascent into an Academy-filling career. They’ll never be massive but they’re sure to get a big fanbase, as a lot of people like this kind of varied, clever, swirling alt.rock. If we had a criticism: there’s not a lot of variation and by the time the album ends, it just about leaves before outstaying its welcome.