Pale, fresh-faced and slightly shy, Nicholas Wood and Kat Day come across as such a nice, polite young couple of art school dreamers in their interviews. That’s before the minimal drum machines begin to stammer, the swirly atmospherics brood and swell, and their druggy, industrial drones twist away at your innards. “I love it when it makes people’s eyes and teeth shake,” says Kat. It’s always the quiet ones…
Originally from Southampton but now based in Berlin, The KVB start from all the usual psychy, shoegaze, Krautrock reference points – Neu!, Suicide, The Jesus and Mary Chain, etc, before wandering off into their own little dream world of icy electronics, mechanical rhythms and mumbly, reverb soaked vocals. It sounds distant and ethereal at times, like a transmission from an alien bomb site, and the pair’s own boyfriend/girlfriend relationship adds another layer of intrigue and personal tension.
The duo have worked with Anton Newcombe in the past, and count Portishead’s Geoff Barrow as their label boss, but as the ambient static builds and bass lines become hypnotic and menacing, 'Night Games' warps into a dark, gothic New Order homage and 'Silent Wave' sets off seedy, neon, Euro-disco acid flashbacks.
It’s a total assault on the senses from start to finish, with wave upon wave of avant white noise forming a thick, dense fog of sprawling sound. The haze clears briefly for Nicholas to deliver a vaguely audible croon on the lunar landing, space rock, gloom ballad 'In Deep', whilst the two closing tracks 'Mirrors' and 'Second Encounter' are glacial, comedowns that bring some sort of soothing conclusion to the chaos.
It’s music from the dark side of the moon alright, and at times it feels like your head is stuck inside a tumble dryer, but Of Desire is a sonic ramble worth taking and Nicholas Wood a producer/mad professor whose experiments reap absorbing outcomes. Just make sure you heed Kat’s warning though, and beware of loose fillings.