New Band of the Week: Kath & The Kicks

Leeds trio Kath & The Kicks have honed an intriguing sound that packs the power of alternative and grunge. Led by delicious, engaging vocals and supported by heavy riffs, there’s also a more melodic edge to the band that’s sure to have you hooked.

The trio of Kath Edmonds (vocals and guitar), Shaneen Mooney (bass) and Matt Larkin (drums) have been together since 2018 and tell us that the diversity of their tracks has made it difficult to pinpoint a sound. As Shaneen puts it: “”I haven’t been able to nail us down to a specific genre yet. People who talk about our music tend to mention genres like rock, metal, blues, gothic, post-punk, grunge and alternative. To keep it simple, I often say that we could be considered as alternative rock music, but you’ll likely hear elements of all kinds of different genres in our songs because we are all influenced by different styles of music.” 

While Kath adds: “Our backstory is all about our journey as musicians coming together to make something true, powerful and what we class as good old fashioned rock n roll! For us, it’s about playing live, making honest music and connecting with an audience who have a thirst for rock music the same way that we do.”

Our first taste of the band was new single Underground, which is certainly towards the heavier, grungier end of their sound spectrum. It opens up with a cool little riff that feeds into filthy, fuzzy guitars. They continue under Kath’s intoxicating high-pitched vocals “Oo I’m going underground where people feel, Oo come with me, Underground to feel the cold, Then grow in the dark.”

An even filthier riff takes over with Kath’s almost whispered vocal “I see you,” then the high-pitched vocals and original riff continue. The second riff jumps back in alongside doomy cymbals and feeds into a big chorus. A stabbing riff and more doomy cymbals come in as the vocals pick up in pace and intensity, then the cool second riff feed into another heavy chorus.

However, things take a more melodic twist with drawn-out vocals and a cleaner riff, which drop into light guitars and a big atmospheric conclusion to the track. Check it out in the video below:

On the track, Kath tells us: “Underground was written over different stages and moves through a timeline, intended to take the listener on a journey from darkness to an explosion of light. We all have a different connection to going underground, other ways of thinking, commentary on society. The tune is all about celebrating that journey and understanding that your true power is where you feel truth and in tune with your own internal values, not what you are told you should be thinking and feeling. It’s about giving you your power back.”

Previous single Walls Between Us offers a more hard-hitting, almost punky edge to the Kath & The Kicks sound. A high-pitched guitar note opens up and drops into stabbing chords under Kath’s feisty vocals, along with little high-pitched guitar flurries. That feeds into a big chorus “Lost in the road, I’m out in the cold, One second my mind fails me, Can you hear me through the walls that I built between us?”

A fuzzy riff comes in for the second verse, which builds up to another big catchy chorus that you can’t help but sing along to. It drops into a lower riff under high-pitched vocals “Release me now,” then builds up to several big repeats of the chorus. Check out this great track in the video below:

Offering a completely different dynamic is Let It Out, which is more moody and edgy with stabbing violin sections intersecting Kath’s echoey vocals through the opening verse. It suddenly bursts into heavier cries of “Let it out, Let it out and speak the truth, Let it out, my devil wants to talk to you.”

Stabbing guitar chords come in alongside the violin notes, and continue through another atmospheric verse. A second chorus ends with piercing, buiding guitar noise, which flows into a final blast of the chorus. Check it out in the video below:

The Kath & The Kicks sound has been heavily shaped by grunge, metal and alternative rock but each member has their own distinct influences. Shaneen explains: “I take inspiration from bands like Deftones, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Nirvana. I also enjoy alternative dance music, and anything psychedelic. Matt is heavily influenced by Faith No More and heavy metal bands and Kath is influenced by heavy alt rock/metal and alt punk rock and roll music. She is also a massive Skunk Anansie fan, and so I think draws inspiration from Skin in her songwriting.”

And when it comes to songwriting, Kath tells us: “Our tunes mostly look at social observations, human interactions and a commentary on life experiences. When the song develops quickly or flows easily during the writing phase, it is usually coming from a genuine place and makes the music and message feel real.

“The ultimate test is when you play it live the first time; if it feels cathartic and you find the performance goes to another level, when the audience connects with you and you can see something amazing is happening, if it has an energy that you can’t quite put your finger on, you know the song is ready.” 

The band have seen a great response to Underground, which was only released two weeks ago but is already being played on radio shows around the world. And that’s given the band a great conclusion to a tough year. As Kath says: “We’re so pleased with getting such a great response and managing to get something out in 2020 despite not being able to spend much time at all together! We are looking forward to jamming again and using all the creative energy as we move forward. So next for us is simple… make more music that people can connect with!” 

And the ultimate aim for the band is to finally be able to get out and play live shows. As Matt tells us: “I just want to say that the planets aligned when the three of us came together, things felt right from the first note. We love what we do and feel comfortable in our own skin, we do what we feel is right and If people enjoy it, that’s a killer outcome. Playing live is where we kick the doors open, we can’t wait to get out there again. We look forward to getting onto some big festivals and major support tours, this will open up more ears and eyes for us. See you out there!”

You can follow Kath & The Kicks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and YouTube.

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