Kas Product

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An inspired blend of the murkily primitive and crisply cool, KaS Product's debut album relies on a partnership that seems initially to make little sense but quickly becomes something really special. Mona Soyoc's voice almost instantly calls Siouxsie Sioux to mind, equally strong and passionate and sometimes using cryptic or archetypal imagery instead of flat description, but it never feels like a simple cloning, with catches and calls in her voice all her own. Her guitar work aims for the simple but effective: heavily flanged rumbles, quick solos, and melodies that have a skeletal, creepy feeling somewhere between the B-52's' demented surf and the Cramps' horror-shock. It's easily the match of any proto-goth work from around the same era -- check the aggressive riffing on "Countdown" and the downright evil noise she kicks up on the brilliant "So Young But So Cold" -- and on its own would deserve greater attention for Soyoc. Meanwhile, Spatsz's electronic work is brisk, bass-heavy, and effective at building up a quick, sudden hysteria not all that removed from Fourth Drawer Down-era Associates. Hearing the sudden swoop of synth moans on "Man of Time" and unearthly alien drones on "Digging in a Hole" just adds to the collapsing, careening atmosphere of the album. The resultant combination is so good it's almost a crime that KaS Product haven't gained more attention -- perhaps ironically they were too warm for electronic freaks and too chilly and futuristic for rock fiends. Other highlights are the easy swing of songs like "No Shame," a finger-snapping sashay down the boulevard (if the setting were Blade Runner, perhaps), and the feminist humor of "Underground Movie," complete with director's commands. The 2005 reissue adds the contents of the earlier Mind Seven and Take Me Tonight EPs.

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