Kochka are a band I’ve been meaning to write about for ages, but for on reason or another I’ve never quite gotten round to it. Since they are one of the bands playing Define Pop 2, and since they really cheered me up on a bad day by sending me badges, it’s about time I finally gave them the coverage I’ve been intending to.
Kochka (Czech for “cat” I believe) are a four piece, formed in Glasgow. Made up of two girls and two boys – Sheryll, Mhairi , Stewart and Markk – they make music, funnily enough. Since forming in 2008 they’ve kept themselves busy gigging extensively, both on their own and supporting the likes of The Phantom Band, and slipping out a couple of EPs and a single. Second EP, Dacha/Summer House was released way back in August. I picked it up from eMusic on release, loved it, and promptly forgot to review it.
The Dacha/Summer House EP holds the distinction for the release I’ve taken the longest to get round to reviewing then. I’ll point out now that that is no reflection on the quality of it – as the review will show – but is all down to my good old fashioned forgetfulness and circumstances too boring to detail.
The first thing that struck me about the EP was that even though it hadn’t been that long since I’d gotten their previous release, The Dead Room Party single, they’d improved quite a bit, and I say that as someone who loved that earlier single (Sadly I don’t have debut EP Numbers. Wonder if the band have any left they could sell me?). Maybe improved is the wrong word. If so, take your pick from evolved or matured instead. Stop looking at me like that, I’ve always said I’m rubbish at writing reviews… The other thing that struck me was that I was struck with a sudden urge to dance around the room. Good work by the songs, but not pretty for anyone who may have the misfortune to see my shimmy.
Right from the off lead track Cowards and Kings grabs you with a jangling, Television-esque guitar line, before Markk’s distinctive vocals kick in. Next thing you know you’ve been dragged along for the ride through a song while changes direction several times and remains infectious throughout.
So far so good then, but things get even better with the next track, Dacha (In The Summer). Outstanding bass and percussion threaten to steal the show for a while before falling back around half way through to allow Stewie to take centre stage with his guitar. It brings about 50 different songs to the back of my head, just enough for me to think “that sounds a bit like…” before shoving them away before I can think of what. The lesson I’m taking from this is that it might remind me a bit of something, but it just sounds like Kochka.
Memory Box / Personal Effects has a darker tone to it, and a lot going on in the background. I swear there’s a typewriter in there somewhere. It’s a bit sleazy, very funky, and an awful lot excellent.
Finally Black Cat closes proceedings and goodness, they’ve quite possibly saved the best for last. Quite a trick considering the previous three songs, as you can hopefully tell, left quite an impression. Distorted guitars, Markk’s vioce threatening to venture into Pixies territory, percussion all over the place tapping out a beat straight into your urge, defying you not to move.
All the songs from Dacha/Summer House – and a few not from it – can be heard on the band’s MySpace. I urge you to have a listen.
Kochka don’t do indie by the numbers. There music might initially sound simple enough, but that’s all part of their diabolical plan to make your body move before you’ve noticed you aren’t listening to another plain, run of the mill band. There’s some fantastic musicianship going on in there, and careful or repeated listen will make you notice that things are a lot more complex than you initially thought. These aren’t disposable, sing-along 3 minute pop songs, they are smart, sexy, funky and oh-so-groovy.
If listening at home close the curtains, make sure the dog isn’t watching, and dance your arse off to this fantastic little EP.
Kochka’s records are available at shows, in the usual independent shops, and to download from the like of eMusic and iTunes.
They play The Living Room stage of Define Pop 2 on Saturday Nov. 14, Sleazies in Glasgow on the 20th and in Stirling on Dec. 20th. Go see them.