photo: Joe Dilworth

photo: Joe Dilworth

Will Shenton

An EP doesn’t always have to be an unsatisfying teaser built around a single. While it’s decidedly not the norm, sometimes these little four- to six-track beauties can be purposeful, fulfilling albums that just happen to come in small packages. Such is the case with Out of Body, the most recent EP by English rockers The KVB.

Drenched in hazy guitars, deliberate drum-machine beats, and unrepentantly retro synths, every song on this album feels like a trip back to the good old days of shoegaze. Nicholas Wood’s vocals sound like a contemporary take on Jim Reid of The Jesus and Mary Chain, and the walls of droning guitars (complete with lackadaisical pitch bending) could be a slightly more pop-sensible My Bloody Valentine. There must be something about those dreary days on the British Isles that allows for such beautifully fuzzed-out apathy.

I wouldn’t say any of the songs on Out of Body are very dynamic, per se, but they’re not supposed to be. They set the tone right off the bat – usually with a punchy bass drum – and then stick with it for five minutes until they decide they’ve had enough. It’s not boring at all, but there’s something almost meditative about the experience.

What’s great about The KVB is that they can squeeze a hell of a lot of creativity out of a pretty limiting genre. All six tracks feel familiar, but each one takes a slightly different approach that keeps things interesting. Shoegaze makes its statements in the subtle accents and details, and when done this well they’re noticeable through the fog without being heavy-handed.

Normally in an EP review I’d say that I was looking forward to seeing how the band develops these sounds on their next full-length release, but Out of Body is such a complete work that it stands pretty well on its own as a sort of mini-album. If this style is up your alley (and really, what kind of mopey millennials would we be if it wasn’t), I’d recommend taking a listen.