I rarely read the press releases that accompany the music we’re asked to review before listening; they all tend to hail the next great thing and often they disappoint. The press accompanying KB & The Idyllwilde, however, is worth repeating… “A soul-rock band based in Nashville, led by high octane vocalist Katie Burke. Her lyrical content deals in the offbeat and the ugly; the extremes of love, sex, death and pain”. Now if that is true, count me in!
The reality is, pleasingly, not far from the hyperbole as KB supplies five songs that reflect the soul of the likes of Joplin with the blues-based rock of Hendrix.
Opening with ‘Mad Man’, the bluesy riff and Janis like vocals are excellent and when the slide cuts in, it provides even greater depth. The violin in the backing doesn’t jar, instead, it works quite well. ‘Drown’ is slightly disconcerting at first as, after the heavy introductory riff, the vocals take a bit of getting used to but after a couple of listens the superb guitar work shines through and the vocals start to make sense as the drowning is actually about being held down and drowned in love…and why not?
‘Right Kind Of Sickness’ is the most soulful track with its slightly discordant backing and that violin again…yes, it is far from standard but a little perseverance rewards as the rest of the instrumentation shines. The male/female vocals suit the song and the conflict becomes harmony, as it should. ‘Glories’ has funky guitar and horns over a complex rhythm from the bass and drums and the violin confounding conformity. A big plus is that we, at last, get a slide solo that doesn’t last long enough but leads into what is obviously going to be the audience participation song on stage…it does go on a bit too long on the record though. ‘
Heart Faulty’ closes the EP with a neat piece of drumming before the vocal comes down a notch and reminds me a little of Sam Brown and that’s a compliment. The guitar is wonderful with its backing chords and echo. This is another that needs more than one run through to appreciate the many facets that go into a KB song.
So, KB and the wild stories (that’s what Idyllwilde means) gel very well and it all comes across as bluesy enough to earn a place in my heart. It would be even better for me if that guitar was unleashed a bit (a lot!) more as the skills on display deserve more room to shine.