Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Review: Khufu – K I N G S (Self-released)

The K I N G S EP by Leeds natives Khufu invokes atmosphere from the moment its backwards guitars give way to the driving piano on ‘Links’. These poignant pianos are accompanied by minimalist percussion, seemingly giving a nod to the likes of SBTRKT and Mount Kimbie. Khufu push just how much can be achieved with so little as ‘Links’ builds on the sparse piano and beats with non-lyric, almost whale song vocals and reverb drenched guitars that promise an interesting listen throughout the EP.

It’s followed by ‘Untitled Pt.1’, which produces Khufu’s most luscious moments with scattered dub drumming is smothered by manipulated guitars that swell and swoon around that full-bodied piano of which Khufu make us so fond.

We are then introduced to the first live drumming on the record, filtered into the title track. What we witness here is a more R’n’B sound, invoking themes similar to Frank Ocean or the end of Outkast’s The Love Below. It again features Khufu’s fondness for piano but here it is not met with sparse reverb based guitars but a guttural strumming. Which, backed by high-flying strings, produces a larger, fuller sound that breaks the tradition Khufu have created, yet shows the dexterity of the group to marvellous effect.

‘Klangers’ is possibly named so due to a faint hoot stirring memories of the TV show Clangers. Thankfully the comparison ends there, leaving upbeat hi-hats motivated by jazz piano phrases that give way to a lifting melody that wouldn’t be out of place in the clubs where this EP takes its influence.

The production of the whole album deserves praise, for it explores different themes and genres whilst maintaining a strong narrative and cohesion.

All that is left is to ask a question: when can we hear more?

Words: R Miles Sayer (Twitter: @RMilesSayer)

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