The vision and sonic architecture on the EP collides perfectly with shuddering guitars and an unexpected underlying beauty.
Words: Karl Johnson | Photo: Katie Allen
Where do you start with KEG? The Brighton seven-piece are currently one of the best new prospects for 2022, they’ve signed a deal with Alcopop! Records and have just released their debut EP Assembly. While a surface level listen to their singles may throw comparisons to fellow once-Brighton-based art-rock chameleons Squid or Bristol’s Home Counties, Assembly offers KEG their own path.
Pedestrian Walk opens the EP and brings the essential KEG energy, the track’s busier moments would almost be overwhelming, but it’s brought back down to earth by deep flowing groove and a fractured and frenzied percussion. The band let their feet off the gas for a second, but regroup the groove a second later, it’s this push and pull which allows room for the yells and screeches of the vocals to find their home. Breaking Rocks follows suit in its manic energy and smart left turns in its arrangement, the instrumental parts clash momentarily before falling into place like a dangerously sharp metal jigsaw puzzle.
Heyshaw was the first tune we heard from the band – in just July of this year – and fits perfectly as a wonky pop centrepiece of the EP, lyrically it immediately stands out with an oddball presence and the chorus is one people will be attempting to sing along to when KEG take 2022 by storm. The band’s visual identity is starting to be realised with the release of Assembly, just a quick look at their artwork and music video for Farmhands – directed by Andrew Howarth – offers a quirky invitation into their colourful vision for the project. Farmhands seemingly takes influence from the minimalist builds of krautrock and groove-based atmospheres, the more minimal the sound the further KEG’s lyricism sinks in and we’re allowed to build our own existence in their world – whether that was the intention or not. It’s on final track Kilham that the band really start to offer a wonderful potential, the vision and sonic architecture in the arrangement is matched only by the unexpected beauty of the subtle harmonies which bridge the gap between their staggered art-rock and left-field indie promise.
The EP has done exactly what it should have done, no longer allowed for KEG to be pigeonholed as just another buzzy post-punk band. Assembly asks as many questions as it answers in terms of where the band will go next, and the prospect of a full-length album is an incredibly intriguing one. Assembly is available to purchase on 12″ vinyl via Alcopop! Records.