Kill West are a band who will be familiar to many regular readers. With two previous releases to its name, a self-titled EP and debut album ‘Smoke Beach‘, the band have already built an strong reputation for blues drenched psych/ surf rock; but ‘Raw Desire’ sees the band develop away from both the smoke and the beach.
This might not be something immediately obvious from the opening bars of the title track, yet once the initial explosion has passed ‘Raw Desire’ settles into a psych/ blues/ garage groove that owes more to ZZ Top than Dick Dale. Once you have got the change of direction into your mind the next thing that strikes is how assured this track is. Kill West seem to have got even tighter as a unit since the Buenos Aries five-piece’s last EP for Drone Rock Records 18 months ago; they are now a four piece, and with a new drummer.
‘Shivers’, the lead track from the EP has been out a few weeks now and, having listened to it a number of times now I have been struck by its energy and power. I particularly like the way it reminds me of Sonic Jesus’s excellent album from last year (which made our end of year list), especially the vocals. ‘Shivers’, like the rest of the EP, has a greater urgency to it and relishes in the reverb which cutting a cleaner and sharper sound than previous outings. ‘Giant Mexico Weather’ also feels like a big track, with a big looping riff reverberating around a very stable and solid rhythm section, which keeps the groove going with a sparing efficiency.
Arguably the key tracks on this EP, however, is the final two ‘Apocalypse City and Pareidolia’, listed together because of the way the one segues into the other. Collectively weighing in at just over ten minutes ‘Apocalypse City’ launches straight into a brilliant groove once more showcasing those Sonic Jesus vocals and ZZ Top guitar. It’s a heavy dirty sound with a psychedelic rhythm that buries itself into your consciousness. Again there’s that new gravity to the band’s sound when, on six minutes everything just pretty much stops and you suddenly find yourself out of the madness of ‘Apocalypse City’ and into ‘Pareidolia’ (which, according to Wikipedia is “psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists”, i.e. seeing animal shapes in a cloud). It’s a stark contrast moving from full on rock music into a low drone from which a piano eventually emerges. It’s a left-turn with, if nothing else, suggests that this band might well be on the verge of something big.
In the meantime this is a really good short set which I imagine captures Kill West in mid-transition. I must say that I like what it has done so far and very much look forward to what comes next. In the meantime I’m going to sit back and stare at the sky and contemplate the pareidolic effects of their music.
The Raw Desire EP is to be a split release between Drone Rock Records, Crang Records (Argentina) and the band themselves. Of a total pressing of 500 copies there are 250 with black and white splatters on clear vinyl and 250 pressed on clear vinyl.
You can find my other writing for Backseat Mafia here.