FROM KETTLES TO CLOAK - Oral Obligations

From Kettles To Cloaks - Oral Obligations

7 songs
16:53 minutes
***** ***
Brown Buffalo


Many years ago, when the CD had all but replaced vinyl, it didn’t take long for a small but persistent vinyl revival movement to reinstall their favourite medium. Then along came MP3s, and all of a sudden it seems that some people now go even further back in time, trying to bring back cassette tapes. What is next? Eight-track cartridges?

Last year, I received the first cassette tape by From Kettles To Cloak but never actually listened to it, for lack of a tape player in my flat! A good half year later, they are back with their second cassette tape Oral Obligations, and this time the band was so nice to include a CD-Rom with the MP3s. From Kettles To Cloaks are a rather obscure band, with not many traces on the Internet, but some of their members used to play for the now defunct lo-fi folk band Out Like Lambs. Don’t expect any of their harmonious sounds though, because From Kettles To Cloaks have a much freer approach to music. The two basic ingredients are blues and free jazz, although in the end it’s hard to categorise them at all.

The first four tracks never make it over two minutes, and are chaotic free jazz eruptions with unhinged female vocals. This has more or less the same effect on me as Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica still has today. The following two tracks are a little longer and also more structures. I Know, They Smell Like Cherries is a disturbed folk rock ballad with moaning vocals, as if Aphrodite’s Child found the blues. The instrumental Still Bleeding is the only song that goes over four minutes and reminds me of the work of Ron Anderson, merging seamlessly noise rock and free jazz. The best is kept for last though: If Ya Gonna Own It, Bone It is one of the best songs I have heard in a long time. Taking the rhythmic pleasantries of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and packing it in a distorted fusion noise rock sound, and adding to this a totally insane groove and a catchy sing-along chorus, the band ends their sadly too short second cassette tape with a truly grand piece of music.

Oral Obligations in itself, with its short length and its varied approach from initial chaos to later structured songwriting, is a rewarding listening experience for everyone tired of the same, old concept in rock music. If From Kettles To Cloaks are able to stretch their talents to a full length album, we might be in for something truly amazing and unique!

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