Live Music + Gig Reviews

The KVB @ The Hope & Ruin, Brighton

1 February 2022


The KVB (Photo: George Katsanakis)

No doubt there will be a rash of interviews online where The KVB’s Nicholas Wood and Kat Day have been asked in depth time and again to explain what the enigmatic initials in their group’s name are meant to signify, but just watching the romantic synth duo perform tonight it’s fun to take a wild stab in the dark at the linguistic significance based purely on what they’re presenting to us.

Killer Viennese Bodybuilder is the first set of words that come to mind, as the opening couple of tracks would make a suitably impressive soundtrack for dancing to, in that legendary nightclub Tech Noir, from cult ’80s time travel rom-com The Terminator. You can totally see fluffy haired, permanently unlucky in love Sarah Connor, sat all alone in the midtown discotheque’s smoky industrial space, nodding her head to the repetitive beat, as she waits for her knight in shining armour Kyle Reese to come protect her from the assault rifle toting, flesh covered, can opener of doom sent to destroy her; around her a cloud of hairspray and acid-wash denim clad hip young Los Angelenos bopping along to the call-and-response robotic new wave.

Kitschy Vaudevillian Balladeers is another phrase that seems weirdly applicable as their set progresses. There’s an atmosphere redolent of the campy charm of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra to their delivery on World On Fire, with Wood offering some of Hazlewood’s knowing lyrical abruptness over Day’s somewhat hushed and adoring responses. Not that the music sounds all that whimsical or psychedelic. Rather, the mechanical efficiency and theatrically sappy lyrics call forth thoughts of the late great Fad Gadget.

Perhaps, it stands for Knowingly Visionary Brutalism. From the album art and standard concrete filled video backdrop to the purposefully drab post punk they peddle, the duo like to portray that air of seriousness that ’s all but expected these from synth duos, one that has been present since the late ’70s, but listening to them perform, to the winsome confidence and softly restorative pleasure they take in generating sound, there’s nothing cold about the waves they’re able to create. There is, at last, a sentence that seems to fit them perfectly and it’s Kinetic Visceral Brilliance.

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