Thursday, Loppen was set to get cloaked in black with The KVB and the local support of The Foreign Resort. As it turns out, what was supposed to get us into the mood for the UK duo’s reverb-washed minimal electronics was none other than new wave romanticism. Altough The Foreign Resort’s music nominally inhabits the similar dark realms as that of The KVB, they did seem like a somewhat odd choice for an opener.
After getting over the initial impression of the band as another bunch of cheesy 80s revivalists, we actually found a lot to enjoy in their emotional take on the shoegazey post-punk. While they do seem to have picked up a few tricks from their US tour mates A Place to Bury Strangers, The Foreign Resort are not here just to make noise and light up the strobo. Underneath all the fuzz lie some really catchy new wave hits and epic goth-tinged gems. It probably helps that the lead singer’s vocals recall Robert Smith on one hand and 90s emo-ish indie rock on the other.
The thing is, The Foreign Resort have something that’s unfortunately quite rare with contemporary shoegaze bands: proper songs. It might sound funny but it’s true – a good deal of new generation shoegazers rely heavily on effects, so much so they often forget that putting a shitload of reverb on a third-rate punk song doesn’t make you entitled to use My Bloody Valentine in your press release. Ultimately, good songs are what saves a band that wears their 80s and 90s influences on their sleeve from being just a retro gimmick, as The Foreign Resort seem to know very well.
Following the noise and affectionate singing came The KVB with their repetitive drum machine rhythms and Nicholas Wood’s monotone delivery. Not that this is a bad thing in itself – after all, that’s precisely what they’ve made a name for. Judging by their recent releases, however, they didn’t get very far from 2013’s Immaterial Visions, still a highlight in their discography. Whoever is into a band like The KVB knows – and probably loves – the disinterested aura of a typical darkwave post-punk act. However, their live performance unfortunately brings forward The KVB’s inferiority to both the indifference of contemporaries like Tropic of Cancer and HTRK and the pastiche of acts like Nite Fields or The Soft Moon.
The majority of their set floated by dispassionately lulling the audience into… well, not caring too much about what’s going on on stage. It wasn’t until the end of the concert that we got to hear gems like “Dayzed” which got us into the band in the first place. That, of course, wouldn’t be an issue at all if their recent material could match the early singles. Their latest album Of Desire seems to be more-of-the-same, and the same could be said for pretty much every song played live the other night.
For some inexplicable reason, The KVB chose “Sympathy for the Devil” as one of the closing tracks. Their cover of the Rolling Stones’ classic is just one of those covers that doesn’t make much sense even though it does shine a light an interesting source of inspiration for a darkwave band. The rock source seems to be covertly but thoroughly present in their riffs and often psychedelic approach, however the song in question is simply too powerful for their bland delivery. After a few more interesting tracks, this proved to be an unfortunately convenient conclusion to The KVB’s performance.