Kitchen's Floor - "No Love" (Look Forward to Nothing)
Here’s a band that doesn’t care to waste your time, because they don’t need to. Why would you want them to, anyway? Kitchen’s Floor’s first album Loneliness is a Dirty Mattress clocked a few more minutes than the slender 21 of the follow-up, Look Forward To Nothing. The first album featured a black cover with white on black text. This one depicts the mattress in particular, and it’s filthy as fuck. I wouldn’t want to live where that is. I’m assuming it’s in Brisbane, where the band is from.
Kitchen’s Floor is one of many in the recent boom years of Australian punk/rock, and like most bands in that boom, they are quite excellent, though for different reasons than some of the other participants. No wheels are being reinvented here. This trio picks a few chords and saws away at them with the determination of carpenters watching the clock with an hour to go before the whistle blows. That could be quite mundane, and by reading the band’s lyrics, you might be fooled into thinking so, but Kitchen’s Floor has the ability to surprise with them, to tenderize and toughen as the mood warrants. Such flexibility goes a long way with regards to interpretations. I missed out on my once shot to see these guys perform (end of August, was hurricane weekend in NYC, wasn’t trying to have a social life) but everyone I know who did get to check them out was blown away – “like Nirvana playing the Urinals catalog” said one, and that they got through their sets in about 10 minutes flat. I trust my people and have to wonder if a band that treats the concept of a live set with such economical disregard might not have the same things to say as most other bands. In my experience, it’s usually the mark of a band that’s worth your time.
Moreso than on the first album, Kitchen’s Floor appears to have found itself, banging loud, loose, sturdy rock songs for about 90 seconds before moving onto the next. That’s enough, right? They make it work. Any of these ideas might’ve gotten tiring with a little more thought, but these guys have sense enough to know when to cut it. In these ten glimpses of the band, we can easily discern the sort of stomping tension present in earlier Times New Viking or Psychedelic Horseshit, or some of the Ohio bands that came before them (Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments definitely rank among ‘em), with braying, hollered vocals, thick with local accent and deceptively simple sentiments. “Kidney Infection,” the album’s most disorienting and lopsided cut, breaks character from the fray with a simple, chunky acoustic guitar chord looped over and over, while Matt Kennedy tries to console a friend with the titular affliction. “You have got a big problem,” he croons. “Hope you feel better when you’re well.” Other songs on the record play out that even being well is subjective. “Even when I’m down / Pissing on the graves / I’m not good enough,” he yells on “Graves,” following a more abstracted couplet that says all it needs to say – there’s another person he’s friends with but cannot have, a single memory (“Sitting on her bed / Almost feeling”) representing all that needs to be said, in as few words as possible.
I would take 100 more of bands like Kitchen’s Floor than most of the bullshit that comes my way. Bands that prove there’s the endless depth we all hope rock ‘n’ roll to have are so rare and yet so needed. They poke holes in the theory of rock relativity, and provide a chance to see what people with a mission can tell us when we have to listen. Your time will not be wasted by these young men.