Review: This Is The Kit and Gruff Rhys Put All the Pieces Together

This Is The Kit/Careful of Your Keepers/Rough Trade
Three Out Of Five Stars

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Kate Stables and her crew are well established within their Paris environs, but having Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals behind the boards provides an extra aural additive, one that illuminates reserved and restrained vocals and elevates the subtle sounds of the band overall. Comprised of  

Stables, Rozi Plain (bass/vocals), Neil Smith (guitar), and Jamie Whitby-Coles (drums), This Is The Kit is especially adept at making music that possesses a certain allure, and yet never comes across as intensive or obtrusive. Never let him go, never let him go, Stables sings repeatedly on “Take You To Sleep,” conveying an urgency that makes its point with pure passion and purpose.

Likewise, the other songs in the set—“Goodbye Bite” and the aptly titled “Take You To Sleep,” in particular, come across as somewhat novel and nuanced, while still getting the point across. Certain selections offer more than a hint of a cautionary note— the precise pace of the title track, the percolating presence of “Stuck In a Room” and the uncertain stance of “Doomed Or More Doomed” being but three of the more obvious examples. Other tracks—“More Changes” and “Dibs” in particular —are of a more supple variety. The songs deal with the usual conflicts and complexities of human existence, making the folkish noir all the more alluring. “Scabby Head and Legs,” its off-putting title aside, is surprisingly playful, at least by the band’s standards. On the other hand, the fragile finesse of “This Is When the Sky Gets Big” brings Nick Drake to mind, its sprawling yet shadowy sound sharing a luminous glow that extends to the far horizons. 

Clearly then, This Is The Kit are content to dwell in more solitary spaces, but given the ethereal arrangements and Rhy’s carefully considered input, Careful Of Your Keepers emerges as an affecting effort, with layer after layer of melody and mystique. Not surprisingly, This Is The Kit ensures all the pieces fit together fine.

Photo by Cedric Oberlin / Courtesy Chromatic PR

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