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Kudu - Death of the Party

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Artist: Kudu

Album: Death of the Party

Label: Nublu

Review date: Mar. 3, 2006

It's both interesting and a little disconcerting when an album for review arrives and, on listening to it, complete bafflement ensues. As in, baffled by why the album was released, baffled by who might listen to it, baffled by the reasoning for its very existence. Note that this doesn't mean the album's necessarily awful; it's more a state of cognitive dissonance than outright hatred.

The press info on this album references Siouxsie circa 1982, Chicago house circa 1986, 70s funk, and jungle. If that spells danger to you, give yourself a gold star. Some songs, thanks to singer Sylvia Gordon, do indeed have a Siouxsie feel to them, referencing the latter's more diva-esque moments. On other songs, there's such an excess of pseudo-operatics that it sounds more like a vocal exercise than a song.

But in truth, Gordon's voice is strong enough to survive such missteps, if it were backed by equally strong music. Unfortunately, the album's synths and rhythms veer uneasily from sub-par Depeche Mode (circa Speak and Spell) and Berlin to such straight-ahead stomps that Chicago house seems positively subtle by comparison.

And thus we're back to wondering why. There seems to be some talent available here, when listening objectively; it's simply gone astray somewhere. The occasional glimmer of catchiness does pop up now and again, but it's quickly buried beneath banal lyrics, bland synths, and astonishingly unimaginative rhythms.

In the end, the title speaks the truth: putting this on would certainly spell the death of any party I've been to.

By Mason Jones

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