Kudu Death of the Party

[Nublu; 2005]

Styles: alternative dance, goth
Others: The Creatures, Depeche Mode, Garbage

Following an earlier incarnation with four members and a jazzy sophistopop sound, Kudu has returned leaner and meaner in 2005. Stripped down to a focus on the unadorned beats of Deantoni Parks and the coolly detached vocals of Sylvia Gordon, Kudu have reinvented themselves as dance music with copious attitude. That attitude is largely due to Gordon's voice. A lithe instrument with obvious range, she uses it on this album to come across as a moody diva who knows how to get (or at least demand) exactly what she wants. There's an obvious sexual undercurrent running through most of her lyrics, which bubbles to the surface quite prominently in the opener, "Hot Lava."

While all of the songs feature synthesizer lines to fill out the sound, it's the rhythm that really makes the album move. Unfortunately, this means that on tracks like "Magic Touch" and "Physical World," where the beats are decelerated, the songs become somewhat plodding, and the energy level dips considerably. In contrast, on their self-tilted debut, the slower tracks had a positively sulky feel. In the effort to reinvent their sound, it seems that Kudu may have thrown out the proverbial baby with the bath water. One hopes that in the future they'll find a way to navigate some middle ground between the new lean aggressiveness and the former smoothness.

1. Hot Lava
2. Love Me in Your Language
3. Bar Star
4. Playing House
5. King Kong
6. Back for More
7. Magic Touch
8. Leave Me Alone
9. Neon Graveyard
10. Hey 50
11. Physical World
12. Let's Finish

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