Artefacts (Reimaginings from the Original Psychedelic Era) by The KVB

Release date: May 12, 2023
Label: Cleopatra Records

Manchester-based post-punk duo The KVB has always intrigued me. They are a bit mysterious, and they offer a wine-dark rendering of some 60s psych that wouldn’t be out of place on a classic Nuggets album. Some of the songs are immediately familiar, such as ‘Circles’, but it is deftly redone with a plethora of synths, turning it into something New Order might offer up. The album opens with a cover of a song by a band I don’t recognise, ‘I Ain’t No Miracle Worker’, originally from The Brogues. It brings The Velvets to mind, were they in a funereal state of mind. Once again, the pair brings their synths to the forefront, and it works in their favor. ‘Reverberation’ is ominous, dark psych, reminding of JAMC in spots. Surely the ghost of Roky Erikson is dancing with the devil to this one.

Remember ‘Dirty Water by The Standells, actually written by their producer Ed Cobb? Nearly everyone who follows garage rock and 60s classic rock knows this one, and has heard it a zillion times on the radio. But I bet you don’t now this other song of theirs called ‘Medication’, co-written by Minette Alton & Ben DiTotsi and performed by The Standells. The KVB turns it into goth disco and wow, it is cool and vampy. I think Blondie could also do a great rendition of this, as it reminds me of their ‘Heart of Glass’ era. ‘I’m a Living Sickness’ from The Calico Wall is not familiar either, though I think this is a great song wrapped in a terrific but creepy synth pop bow, something The KVB excels at. ‘Night Of The Long Grass’ is a Troggs cover, and ‘Wild Thing’ aside, this is a trippy slice of psych with a Middle Eastern feel.

Following on from this is a Groupies cover called ‘Primitive’ that almost channels The Cure and Ceremony in rapid succession. A perfect soundtrack for your next ghost-hunting adventure! Next up is the overly familiar ‘Pictures Of Matchstick Men’, which most know is from Status Quo. Granted, a KVB treatment could almost fit on a cool, John Hughes soundtrack. It has that 80s noirish cool that oldsters like me really dig! The Pretty Things cover, ‘Midnight to Six Man’, is a natural for the dance floor, and knowing what I do of The Pretty Things, this is nothing like the original. It is hand-claps and almost demands a line dance.

‘Liar Liar’ from The Castaways is also not familiar, but is a fun listen. The final selection is a Them cover called ‘I Can Only Give You Everything’. My knowledge of Van Morrison’s old group is limited to ‘Gloria’, so you can fill in the musical blanks I offer by seeking out the original recording to contrast and compare. This rendition is quite pretty, a rather upbeat coda to this fine collection of covers by the always reliable and excellent KVB. Highly recommended!

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