Posts Tagged ‘The Kecks’

27th November 2021

James Wells

What what what? Could The Kecks, who we’ve been raving about all year, be about to undo all their good work with not only – gasp – a Christmas single, but a cover, and a cover of a shmaltzy Elvis tune at that? When it landed it my inbox, I covered my eyes and pretended it wasn’t there. Poking myself to play it, I was so, so tempted to cover my ears while contemplating the challenge of the extent to which one can permit a transgression from a band you rate, and what constitutes sufficient mitigating circumstances.

It being Christmas is absolutely not adequate defence. In fact, it’s the opposite.

To be clear: I don’t hate Christmas. I just hate the faux-fun, the forced festivities, the fact that everyone feels the need to go crazy social, to overspend and overindulge, the fact that a Christian festival has essentially hijacked solstice celebrations and subsequently been repurposed as a shameful capitalist cash-in.

The foursome have been sitting on this a while: it was recorded back in 2019 and remastered last year, and I’d like to think they’ve been sitting on it until it felt that the time was right and they’d built enough of a name for themselves before putting this out, which I suppose is commendable and makes career sense, but it’s still a Christmas single at the end of the day.

Credit where it’s due, the band dubbed ‘The Strokes of Hamburg’ by Consequence Of Sound have delivered a version that’s less soft-focus and smooshy than either the original or Mud’s famous and faithful cover, injecting it with some vocal passion that gives it a lift and a bit of bite – enough to bring home the grim reality that is Christmas alone , no doubt something that will hit many this year, be it by breakup, bereavement, quarantine or lockdown. Lonely and cold, and unusually dark.


The Kecks artwork

Blaggers Records – 27th August 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

The Kecks go goth with their new single! Well, perhaps not quite, but ‘Tonight Might Be Different’ is certainly a slide down into darker territory compared to its predecessor, ‘All for Me’. It’s got a slinky bassline and a smooth but stutter lead guitar line that hints of late-night smokiness and even a dash of desperate sleaze. It’s not a radical shift in real terms: ‘All for Me’ made nods toward early Pulp, and this, too, expands on their Fire years death disco indie stylings, the combining the gloom and catchiness of tracks like ‘My Legendary Girlfriend’.

Lyrically, it’s an interesting one, veering between paranoia and frustration that are both relevant and relatable to many as Lennart Uschmann reflects ‘I’m so busy giving everybody else attention / My friendship starts to feel more like a disease’. But then again, these thoughts emerge from a jumble of confusion, a state which finds him ‘coming home too late and messing up the place by being way too stoned.’

Meanwhile, outside, ‘They’re kicking down the doors and making lots of noise’, and it’s all very visual, even if it is cut-up and fragmentary. It could, and probably should, all be a horrible and incoherent mess, but the end result is far from it, and it’s all in the execution.

Switching from a sinewy lead guitar to a chorus-coated echo-heavy picked rhythm that’s got that circa 1984 post-punk sound, the punchy drumming and solid bass bring a real rock swagger, and it all comes together to make for their strongest single cut yet.


The Kecks _Tonight_single_cover

23rd October 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Well, it’s an odd choice of name for a band. Maybe it’s an age thing or a Lincoln thing, but growing up, kecks were underpants. This is why it’s important to consider all aspects and angles when choosing a band name: what does your band name say about you? Still, it’s not as bad as The Front Bottoms.

The Kecks are based in Hamburg, although their members hail from Australia, the UK, Austria, and southern Germany, making them a truly international collective, and ‘All for Me’ is one of those songs where the lyrics don’t seem to entirely connect, a kind of patchwork of images and ideas and expressions that endlessly bounce off one another to convey… well, what, precisely?

It’s not a criticism as such: the same is true of so many lyrics: even boiling down pop greats from Bowie to Duran Duran reveals a lot of songs lack a general cohesion.

‘All For Me’ is a mid-to-low tempo indie tune that’s got hints of The Smiths and early Pulp about it, and somehow, in context, when Lennart Uschmann pours anguish and angst into the lines ‘And I wrote some songs for you / but you would always listen to / all of that white noise in between the radio stations’ it all makes sense somehow, on an instinctive, intuitive level, all of which is anything but pants.


Kecks promo image