Appie Kim – (=AOK)

The sounds contained on (=AOK) span the decades. There's fifties twang, and sixties garage, seventies rock, eighties thrash and so on – but the sound is never derivative.

Appie Kim – (=AOK)

http://www.konkurrent.nl/

 

Sail, the opening track on (=AOK) opens with garage guitar and pounding drums. Then there's Natasha van Waardenburg's voice, which on this track (and on this track only) sounds eerily like Chrissie Hynde's. These are the only elements and its rock and pop stripped back to the basics. Its a formula carried on throughout the album. It's Not For Me rocks in a similar fashion to Sail and is propelled by a motorik beat. It's topped with fuzzy guitar and some sneery vocals. List of Broken Hearts has a slightly fuller sound but the rocking keeps coming at you.

 

The album itself reminds me a little of Young Marble Giants Colossal Youth album. Not in the sound – it sounds nothing like it. But (=AOK) reduces rock to its essentials in much the same way that Colossal Youth did. We're used to music being incredibly expansive and widescreen. (=AOK) doesn't go for that sound – instead the songs are straightforward and elemental and are rather like piercing shafts of light cutting through the night sky. It's incredibly refreshing and effective.

 

Shut Up Treatment is a poppier number and the sound is expanded to include keyboards and percussion. Like the other songs on the album it is short and sweet and leaves the listener wanting more. Hello? Hello? just features voice and guitar and showcases Natasha's beautifully soft and rich voice. Elsewhere, He Was A Friend opens like a hardcore track before mutating (briefly) into a pop song. Some Prefer Black & Some Prefer Blue opens with a military beat and comes close to having a shoegazer chorus. Don't Chase That Devil has a wistful pop opening but contains a degree of menace whilst No Message opens like the great folk song Portadown. Luke Skywalker closes the album – it's a brief, elegiac instrumental and, like the album as a whole, over far too soon.

 

The sounds contained on (=AOK) span the decades. There's fifties twang, and sixties garage, seventies rock, eighties thrash and so on – but the sound is never derivative. All the great rock and pop sounds have been summoned, but have been kept on a tight leash and made to work for Appie Kim. And they've been made to work hard, even though the album only just trips over the half hour mark. Still, when the albums as good as this, anything longer would sheer indulgence.