Thursday, August 30, 2007

Division Kent's Gravity

Division Kent are Andrea B. & Sky Antinori. They are from Switzerland, but are named after a street corner (Division & Kent) in NYC. Their MySpace page lists their influences as new wave/electro/indie/punk/dub/pop, which sounds right up my alley. And until last week I had never heard of them. I got an e-mail from Stefan (in Switzerland), who said he was a friend of the band. Attached was an mp3. He wrote that based on my blog posts, this was something I might like. The mp3 was for a song called This Big Hush. I recognized the song title, quickly dl'd the song and began to play it. It was what I thought it was - a cover of a classic Shriekback song from the band's 1985 album Oil And Gold. It is a lush, atmospheric track, and one that has always held me spellbound. Happily, Division Kent did not ruin the song. It is, I thought, a pretty damn good version. It is not a radical remake, just a nicely updated version. I decided I needed to hear more, and after a few more e-mails I acquired a copy of their new album Gravity. It is the follow up to their electroclash-y 2006 debut Monsterproof (which you can stream at the website). It is set to be released in Europe on September 7th, with no word yet on a US release.

Gravity is a nice step forward from Monsterproof. In the studio they are a duo, but onstage they expand into a 5 piece band, and to me it sounds as if Gravity was influenced by their live excursions. While it is still full of elecronic sounds there is a warmer, more organic approach taken, and one that rocks a little bit harder than it's predecessor. Looking for a simple "sounds like" guide? I hear Ladytron, Metric, Midnight Movies, Death In Vegas and Depeche Mode (no coincidence there as half of the album is co-produced by the Mode's longtime collaborator Gareth Jones) in the mix. It is modern indie rock with a dash of '90s electronica (Rooftop Rallye) plus a splash of krautrock. There are a couple of really dance-y tracks (Offshore), a couple of moody ballads and even a kind of Tom Waits moment on Salty. Both Andrea & Sky sing (in English and in French), and their voices compliment each other (and the music) well. I have to say the album is a pleasant surprise, and one deserving a wider audience. Enjoy the moody space of This Big Hush (produced by NYC composer/producer Peter Scherer), and the glimmering electro-rock of Pat The Pan Am Pilot.

Listen to more Division Kent on their MySpace page and on the Hype Machine.

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