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Kane Strang - Two Hearts And No Brain

  • Published in UNX

For some, the transition from bedroom recording to the dreams of something bigger, never quite make the transition. Kane Strang has done more than most to ensure that we now sit here listening to his latest offering. Not only has he moved from the bedroom he also recorded his debut album in a disused German bomb shelter. Four years later and his new album Two Hearts And No Brain is a more polished offering. 

Originally hailing from New Zealand his upbringing and musical education includes reflects a swirling triumph of psychedelic lo-fi guitar sounds. Opening track ‘Lagoons’ is a statement of intent with its melodic lo-fi sound accompanied by Kane’s seemingly one dimensional, almost monotone vocals. Yet this is no bad thing, merely a mood setting. ‘Silence Overgrown’ grows his sound further with laid back catchy guitar hooks.

After a successful appearance at this year’s The Great Escape where he performed a brilliant set, this album confirms his rise and ability to create a relevant commentary on life’s daily grind. With tracks such as ‘Not Quite’ and ‘Oh So You’re Off I See’ we gain a more enriched sound, which is blended with Strang’s lyrical honesty whilst still keeping that downbeat, lo-fi sound.

A slower pace is selected for the middle part of the album with ‘See Thru’ and the excellent ‘Summertime In Your Lounge’ as the album continues to explore the frustration of disenchanted relationships. The album's lead single, ‘My Smile Is Extinct’ has a braver and more upbeat sound with more pop sensibilities. With more focus on an acoustic lead, this is another tale of love lost and the following spiral downwards, yet wrapped in very catchy lyrics:

"Yes she’s the best I’ve ever had, I’ll say it to her face and I’ll say it to her dad".

This is an obvious lead single and should create further attention for this talented singer-songwriter. The album's title track is further evidence of his ability to create melancholic strangled love songs that speak of the reality of dating in the instantaneous nature of the modern world. It is perfectly pitched with a realism which is a welcome change. He almost begins to answer his own spiraling decent into madding frustration with ‘It’s Not That Bad’ as if to create some light relief and to maintain his continued belief that all will be well at some point, he’s just not sure when. 

This is clearly an album that will grow on you the more listens it’s given. It’s also a very honest, open-hearted album that will have you going back again and again as we continue our struggle to understand the complexities of what the hell are we all doing. More of the same please Mr Strang.

Two Hearts And No Brain is available via Amazon and iTunes.


Festival Coverage: The Great Escape - Day 2

  • Published in Live

More rain of biblical proportion greets us on the second day. In these desperate times we head for the comfort of the familiar. The wonderfully iconic Lauren Laverne is broadcasting live from the festival and we all huddle together like wet sheep.

Everyone is talking about what acts they saw the previous day. However the main chat is all about the Slaves who hosted a takeover party at the end of Brighton pier and as you would hope it was full on carnage. The show had to close early due to huge numbers and many people rushing and jumping over the barriers. By all accounts the boys didn’t fail to deliver and many an urban myth about what went on has already started to develop. 

Along with the main Great Escape festival is a host of offshoot musical events. The Alternative Escape hosted the brilliant Resonators last night while there are also loads of pubs who run events that don’t need tickets and are all completely free. Alongside all this there are various companies hosting events and we have just registered for the Soundcloud secret show. We have no idea who but then it wouldn’t be a secret would it.

We start with Dakota a three piece jangly female-fronted band with echoes of Warpaint which wets our appetite for the day ahead. Next, a truly strange location of the iconic i360 tower on Brighton seafront to catch an intimate gig courtesy of Dr. Martens with the beautiful voice of Cosima. This lady has a huge future  ahead, her stunning vocals, along with the setting, are perfect apart from the rain and really starts our day of well.  

From the beautiful to the downright weird. Delaney Davidson from New Zealand is a one man band who’s been described as Gothic Americana. Personally we think it was blues mixed with Captain Beefheart. He did a superb cover of ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night which was simply hypnotic, wonderful and bonkers. We want more craziness, maybe the weather is sending us mad. Luckily we have two ginger haired Belgian’s who pound out intense synth rock. La Jungle are just one of those act you just don’t get and can’t describe yet you don’t have to. A huge noise is made by these two guys and we lap it up, think Royal Blood with synths and you are kind of getting there.

The sun is out, we aren’t lying. We head to an outdoor stage and catch the singing songwriting talent that is Callum Beattie. As we are serenaded by his acoustic loveliness we can plan the next few acts and dry out. We plump for Kane Strang and a swirling beautiful low-fi psychedelic sound with echoes of Pixies which confirm this guy’s huge talent. We are then excited for one of our must see acts of the weekend Jay Som. Coming out of San Francisco and fronted by the amazing talents of Melina Duterte they serve up lashing of dreamy psychedelic guitars. You feel transported to a hazy summer's day and she is simple a wonderful artist that we can’t recommend enough.  

The late show for tonight, we focus on a few more upcoming urban and grime artists and we begin in the grand setting of Queens’s Hotel to see Koojey Radical. Swigging Redstripe and sweating he leaps about firing out fast flowing lyrics. Stripping off layers after each track he performs some wonderful stuff. It sums up one of the beauties of the Great Escape, underground artists in grand venues which are not used to putting on live acts. We switch to a club on the seafront to catch Grime of the highest order from Belly Squad, all decked out in matching Adidas tracksuits they bring a light-hearted approach, mixing up afro rhythms and afro-beats with a Caribbean vibe to knock out hits such as the wonderful ‘Banana’.

They're followed by Young T & Bugsey who are destined and touted as the next big urban act. Abra Cadabra is freshly following a MOBO award and we can see why. He is dedicated to his craft yet could have been a bit more aware of the crowd. Our final act are 67, a raw uncompromising group of rappers that have a huge following. This we feel is proper grime music without the filters. They are dangerous and we feel privileged and scared all in one. The crowd are bouncing like mad things and they deliver an intense, wonderful performance, with a leading figure wearing a mask either to hide his appearance due to his gang injunction or due to his ASBO. We don’t know but it only adds to the drama of the night and rounds off an intense yet amazing day.   

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