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coverpic flag England - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 25 - 11/04/98

Kenickie
Get In
EMI Records

Get In is Kenickie's 2nd album, the unavoidably difficult follow up to the excellent 1997 debut At The Club.

A 4-piece guitar based, 3 parts female band from the North East of England, Kenickie arrived in 1996 and captured my attention with Punka, a ludicrously infectious "punk" work-out. Youthful exuberance with only the slightest hint of irony and a wonderful sing-a-long chorus:

P-U-N-K-A Punka!
Lo-fi songs are great - Punka!
P-U-N-K-A Punka!
We never learned to play - 'cos we're Punka!
I want to be a Punka too
When I grow up if Punka's ever do
I want to be like you

Punka topped the end of year listeners poll on the radio show of the UK's legendary cutting edge DJ John Peel. The debut album that followed in 1997 was everything I hoped it would be. Songs about growing up, boys, cars, lipstick, PVC, drinking and Nightlife. Wonderful stuff. Almost inevitably, EMI packaged the band and presented them to the world as if they were a cartoon, and many of the record sleeves depict them as just that. Which is all very well, but explains how 1998's return for the band has been so difficult.

Get In is a remarkably defiant, if unambitious record. It would have been easy to make "At The Club Part 2" but the band clearly didn't want that. Instead we have a less noisy collection of pure pop songs, albeit somewhat formulaic. If like me, you like an occasional pop burst when listening to music, Get In is fine. Lyrically, it's a natural progression from album one, often reflective and occasionally poignant. The album also contains Stay In The Sun, which history may reveal in years to come as one the great 'lost' pop singles. It's by no means a classic LP, and nowhere near as enjoyable as At The Club, but for that song alone worthy of mention. I can't help thinking that it marks the band at a point of transition. Perhaps it has been rush-released to quickly by the record company, and packaged in a way no-one (including the band) was comfortable with.

I write this review in the knowledge that the band have just split up, only a few weeks after the album's release. Sales have been extremely poor and the two singles that preceded the album failed to make the British charts. The split is amicable by all accounts, and blamed chiefly on their record label EMI (Remember the Sex Pistols' song? - editor's note).

Bands like Kenickie should never sign to major record labels. Ok, so they were never going to have a Rolling Stones long term appeal (thank goodness) and they would have become bored eventually, but just over 2 years is an almost scandalously short career. Unceremoniously spat out by the monster that is the music industry and drained of enthusiasm is not the way the Kenickie story should end.

Look up some of the Kenickie fan's web-site's and you'll see just how much this band meant to some people. It was great fun while it lasted.

Copyright © 1998 Craig Scrogie e-mail address

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