Kill Krinkle Club deemed the process of making their second album akin to descending into their own hearts of darkness at times. The dark tone and atmospheric electronica littered throughout the ten tracks here display the tortured nature of the album’s birthing but the result doesn’t quite muster the dramatic level of quality the reference hints at. Maybe it suffers due to the increasing familiarity of the band’s set up: they aren’t as polished as their nearest musical brethren Nikki and the Dove, nor are they as intimate and minimal as Blue Hawaii despite the identical set up. What they do bring is a keen sense of atmosphere that holds the interest enough to merit further listening.
The difference of the two lead vocals presents one of the most interesting features of the band. Justin Cummins channels Beaucoup Fish era Karl Hyde, with a sultry whisper of a voice that weaves beautifully through the more psychedelic moments of the album, previously released ‘The Heart It Soaks’ being the perfect example. They could probably have ditched the expletives on ‘Fearless’ that, you would imagine, intend to portray bravado but just feel tiresome and lazy. When he is accompanied by Elina Bergman’s vocals the album hits its stride. Standout tracks ‘Soften Reflex’ and ‘By Choice’ utilise their voices best with the play between both Cummins’ dark rasp and Bergman’s sweet tone creating a perfect keel between soft and sharp. It’s just a shame that these moments are not more frequent as their dual vocals at times recalls Vincent Cafiso and Tabitha Tinsdale of Joy Zipper in its interplay.
The synth heavy style is always going to draw comparison between the band and other ’80s influenced electronic acts of the moment but to their credit there is enough here to create an individual imprint. It travels from bass laden on ‘Bullet’ to the title track’s spaced-out segue in one fell swoop without losing their personality. With so much of the material featuring that deep, thick bass it’s refreshing to have them broken up with more fluid pieces like ‘Oxen Of The Sun’ and the swelling build of album closer ‘Stahl’.
The difficult second album syndrome must hang like a pendulum over new acts as they ready their sophomore release, the blade of critical disappointment swinging ever closer to the bone as the release date looms. Maybe this pressure can cloud the reason for making music and while this is by no means a failure it sees them not quite where they should be in relation to their debut Abandon. That said, there is still enough skill here to make you hope that darkness they referred to has been exorcised with this release and their next proves a more rounded affair.