England - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 25 - 11/04/98
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:
Lo-fi songs are great - 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