kevin k broken cvrBroken – Kevin k (Vicious Kitten) 

Recorded with all dials in the red in a basement in the cold of a Michigan winter, “Broken” shows Bowery veteran Kevin K is anything but. Your sound system may be, though, after 12 songs that don’t skimp on distortion.

Glossy production and Kevin K have rarely been mentioned in the same breath. Ironically, his most polished record, “Magic Touch”, also came out on Vicious Kitten 23 years ago. Apart from being on the same imprint, “Broken” bears no resemblance and sounds like Blue Cheer.

Kevin K played all the instruments on “Broken” (with some minor drum machine assistance) and the production is homespun. The “never too loud” ethos and claustrophobic feel might leave you gasping for breath midway through but I suspect that’s the intention. 

Newcomers might struggle with its 39-minutes of tuned-down fuzz and rumble but glued-on fans will have no issues with ‘Broken”, an album correctly labelled as Kevin K’s heaviest to date. If you’re made it this far into Mr K’s career you’ll be relieved that the usual obsessions are intact – isolation, loneliness and great dead bands – as is Kevin’s keen melodic sensibility, buzzsaw guitar and dry wit.

Ergo, the opening title track sets the scene with some clever lyrics set to a sturm und drang soundtrack: 

Millions of trees in the world
Are accidentally planted by squirrels
Who bury their nuts
And forget where they hide them
We’re all broken
We’re all broken
We’re all broken
That’s how the light gets in 

The grinding “Lords of The New Church” isn’t the most subtle tribute written to a long-dead band but it’s effective. The riff gets another workout in “The Lost Seahorse”, while ”Prayers of Life” takes its cue from the Heartbreakers and is an uplifting ode to bands of their ilk.    

When K sings about “living in a place where there’s no sunshine” in the Sabbath-like “Catacomb Heart” there’s no mistaking the message. No wonder he’s since moved to the coast. The mid-album “Winter 22” is an instrumental let-up and (perversely) a chink of light. 

The triple kick drum in ”Truth Is The Sword” is something I don’t want to hear again but the faithful cover of “Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth” makes amends. The laser beam lead break is all Kevin K. 

Aussies should be aware that it's on a local label so pushing that "Buy It" button below won't involve being reamed by international postage rates. Those of you in other markets should drop the man himself a line or make suitable ordering arrangements or go to MVD


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