Treviso, Italy, based two piece Kill Your Boyfriend are back with a phrenetic new album, Voodoo. The fourth from the duo is out now via Sister 9 Recordings (Europe), Little Cloud Records (North America) and Shyrec (Itay).
The new LP follows Killadelica, where Kill Your Boyfriend had refined their debut signature sound, bridging the gap between the semi-obscure but hauntingly fascinating tradition of Veneto’s Post- Punk (Death In Venice, Evabraun, Pyramids, etc.) and contemporary Psych-Nouveau. In Voodoo, Matteo Scarpa and Antonio Angeli, explore new genres and expand the sonic borders, without losing their original intent. They replace the synth bass with a bass-guitar, adding more fluidity and weight to a renewed and punchier rhythmic section. Electronic and acoustic percussion are fuller and heavier, and the band’s new stomp-machine is a hyper-convulsive version of the saturated Rock & Roll and R&B drumming, from the cheap garage studios of 1950s indie labels.
Side A is inspired by Michael Ventura’s essay “Hear that Long Snake Moan”, which brought forward the idea that “the Voodoo rite of possession by the god became the standard of American performance in rock’n’roll” where the performers “let themselves be possessed not by any god they could name but by the spirit they felt in the music”. Each song invokes one or a set of the lost souls of the rock & roll era.
Opening with ‘The King’, it doesn’t leave much to the imagination who the inspiration is. Its infectious from it’s opening beat and doesn’t let up. Add to that the ethereal vocals which float in and out of presence, like the ghosts of those discussed and you have something powerful. Just when you think you’ve got to grips with the track, the ante is upped – the result, you’re left breathless. From here we move into ‘The Man in Black’ is a different entity, less menacing yet more intense than its predecessor. Already in Voodoo we see a different side to KYB, with the focus less on the prevailing tonation and more on the stories at the heart of the tracks, with the sound so perfectly balanced you can really dig into the heart of it all. ‘Mr Mojo’ changes track once more, with a slower tempo, barely but still, and a haunting, nocturnal energy ruminates strongly. The false end sees you thrust back into the depths and the music is so consuming you wonder if things will ever be the same again.
‘Buster’ starts as we have come to know and love, yet turns into something different, devilish and distorted, with eerie organ notes which chime through the very fibre of your being. The clock like, metronomic effect lulls you into a trance, showing not only do the understand sound in a way most mere mortals can only aspire too, they utilise more than just a touch of magic. ‘The Day The Music Died’ refers to the infamous 3rd February 1959, which saw the tragic lose of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, earning it its dark epithet. The song is suitably dark and mysterious, with lashings of reverb and distortion which are different from their usual style.
Side B descends deeper into the magic swamps of Creole magic, with music taking on a much more liturgical function, conjuring shamanic possessions via extra layers of tribal percussion. The band explain “we see it as a one long ritualistic descent into a psychedelic underworld made of echoing voices, claustrophobic spaces populated by lost souls, enchanters and witchdoctors”. ‘Papa Legba/Voodoo’ clocks in at over 14 minutes and is the type of track that has to be experienced, nothing I write here can attempt to do it justice, it is simply exceptional. My advice – volume up!
Kill Your Boyfriend dived deep for the themes they explored, and whether its for you or not, one thing is for sure, those whose inspiration has led to such an offering, would be proud. Was a soul or two sold to the Voodoo Gods? We shall never know…
Buy the European version here