A sombre story. A happy ending.
Charlie Brock
20:30 15th October 2020

More about:

Off Off On is the sixth studio album from Kate Stable’s This Is The Kit: the follow-up to 2017’s critically acclaimed Moonshine Freeze. Our first introduction to this record was lead single 'This Is What You Did', which has been a regularly featured track on BBC 6 Music. The infectious banjo, combined with a frenzied rhythm section builds to an inescapably catchy song with lyrical themes that touch on self reflection and self doubt.

These are themes that are consistently touched upon throughout the album, the lyrics and instrumentation creating a deep sense of melancholy and encapsulating the feeling of autumn in a post-Covid world. Stable has captured the very essence of a panic attack with this album, describing the internal monologue of the experience, whilst setting it to a very melodic and somewhat lugubrious soundtrack.  

The production by Josh Kaufman on Off Off On is impeccable throughout, with the instrumentation and vocals sounding clear, crisp and woven together brilliantly. There is a wonderful addition of brass on tracks ‘No Such Thing’ and ‘Slider’ as well as woodwind on the more upbeat ‘Coming To Get You Nowhere’. On the track ‘Carry Us Please’, Stable overlays her vocals to create a song that builds slowly and profoundly, really showcasing her voice and its ariose qualities.

As Off Off On continues, the sense of self-doubt seems to weigh heavier and heavier on Stable’s shoulders, the track ‘Shinbone Soup’ is built on a finger-picked acoustic riff with only light percussion and distant keys - this really highlights Stable’s songwriting talent and sounds almost like a PJ Harvey demo before the distorted guitars and bass are added. 

Penultimate track ‘Was Magician’ is a real standout, Stable again utilising brass and keys to build the song to what can only be described as a triumphant slow-dance. The album concludes with ‘Keep Going’, a longer song that tells the listener to do just that; this track is the light at the end of the tunnel and prompts a feeling of nostalgia and sentimentality, as well as an uplifting sense of power and resolve. It feels as if Kate Stable is telling herself and the listener that you can do it, the end is in sight, keep going. The song raises a smile and a feeling of pushing against the tide. This track rounds off the whole album and leaves you believing that the world might just be alright in the end. It’s very much the happy ending to a somewhat sombre story.

Off Off On is an album that encapsulates the mood of dark mornings and early evenings. The autumnal and introspective elements work beautifully with the sense of unease that many people are experiencing right now. This Is The Kit are scheduled to play a one-off show at the grand and storied Royal Albert Hall in April of next year...it's a venue that will suit this album down to the ground.

Off Off On arrives 23 October via Rough Trade Records.

More about:

Photo: Press