First impressions can be misleading.
On first listen the new Kid Canaveral album ‘Faulty Inner Dialogue’ is somewhat unassuming even if it’s not the downbeat electronica I half jokingly suggested in response to a live show.
Certainly the songs may be less obvious than some of the early singles, but almost straight away fragments of these songs started appearing unbidden on the internal jukebox. It’s clear that they’ve not lost their way with a great melodic hook.
On the contrary. Don’t try and tell me that the likes ‘Callous Parting Gift’ or ‘Tragic Satellite’ don’t have naggingly insistent melodies. And that’s a trait shared with the rest of the album.
Certainly they have left the youthful exuberance of the debut behind but they’ve replaced that with something more special because repeated plays reveal that ‘Faulty Inner Dialogue’ is a record of depth and substance.
One of the strengths of second LP ‘Now That You Are A Dancer’ was the strength and consistency of the song-writing, but ‘Faulty Inner Dialogue’ not only matches but goes beyond that standard.
The integration of fifth member Michael Craig on keyboards has had the biggest influence on the sound of the album.
Whilst sometimes (such as on ‘Tragic Satellite’) the keys add a little colouring to the songs, on others such as ‘Light Source’ they’re far more central to the sound and there’s little touches like the sampled vocals dotted throughout the record which add colour and texture.
One of the most exciting things about ‘Faulty Inner Dialogue’ is that whereas previously the band might have had an electronic song and a shoegazey one on the same record, here they mesh these elements together gloriously to produce a coherent, enthralling sound.
Lead single ‘First We Take Dumbarton’ perhaps illustrates this best. Again, on the first couple of live listens, it didn’t sound like an obvious single. But after just a few plays it’s clearly one of their best songs, building nicely to some fairly ferocious passages with the electronic elements adding another dimension.
Another of the record’s highlights ‘Lives Never Lived’ is cut from similar cloth, if perhaps a little more immediate. It’s a close cousin of ‘A Compromise’ from the last LP but whereas the earlier song had a certain defiance about it, ‘Lives’ has more a feeling of weary resignation which only makes it all the more affecting.
Which isn’t to suggest that the record all sounds like those two songs. It definitely has its own identity but encompasses a range of songs within that identity. The Kate-sung ‘Callous Parting Gift’ and ‘Listen To Me’ feature the lightest touches on the record whilst ‘From Your Bright Room’ manages to be both ominous and hopeful.
In fact, one of the real joys of the record is seeing how the Canaverals manage to twist and stretch their sound into satisfying new shapes simultaneously accomplishing the trick of managing to create both recognisably a Kid Canaveral album yet, at the same time, something new.
Without doubt their best record so far.
Here’s the video for ‘First We Take Dumbarton’:
‘Faulty Inner Dialogue’ is available from Lost Map Records on vinyl, CD and download.
I’m delighted to be able to say that the Cool Cat Club and Manic Pop Thrills will be bringing Kid Canaveral to Dundee on Saturday 24th September with support from Book Group and Faiides. More info here. Tickets here.
Here’s the full list of currently announced dates to promote the album:
Saturday, July 30th – EDINBURGH, Summerhall (Album launch with Malcolm Middleton)
Friday, August 12th – GLASGOW, Glad Weekender
Friday September 16th – CARDIFF, The Moon Club
Friday September 23rd – ABERDEEN, True North Festival (with C Duncan and HQFU)
Saturday, September 24th – DUNDEE, Beat Generator Live (with Book Group and Faiides)
Friday, September 30th – GLASGOW, Glad Café
The band are also line up to play the Aberfeldy Festival on 4th / 5th November.