|Nightshift - where would the Oxford music scene be without a free music paper? First there was 'Local Support', then there was 'Curfew' and now 'Nightshift' (actually a long long time ago there was 'Charlie Horse', no really, and 'The Back-Street Bugle', but I won't mention them in case people start wondering how old I am...). Here's a review of blue kite's 'mobile' CD written for Nightshift by Dale Kattack.|
Nightshift March 2005
By Oxford standards Blue Kite have a hell of a pedigree. Formed by three former members of indie legends The Anyways, Alan Buckley, Mark Price and Pete Lock, their current line-up also includes one-time Mystics siren Kate Garrett on vocals, drummer Tim Turan who by now must have played in every band in Oxford, plus guest appearances by Soma's Rich Haines and Goldrush's Joe Bennett.
Blue Kite made their debut on 1996's seminal local band compilation 'OXCD' and have released two previous albums but the nature of the band has meant they've played less than a handful of gigs in all those years. Things have changed somewhat since the arrival of Kate into their ranks but this elusive band are still something of a secret even in their home city. Which they shouldn't be, because this third album is very much the sum of all that talent.
Discreet pop is probably as apt a description as you can find for Blue Kite but that insinuates something bland and dinner partyish, when really they're more exotic than that. Kate's voice is inscrutable and other-worldly and this as much as anything lends a lost in time feel to everything. The darker edge of the 60s hippy dream mingles with a very English folk edge and the accomplished maturity of a jobbing jazz-rock band. So while Blue Kite can occasionally feel like a victory for professionalism over adventurism, more often they can be as seductive as an autumn evening and as comforting as red wine in front of a log fire. 'Wired' and 'Tears for a Blues Kite' are smoky, slow burning gems, Pete and Kate's voices softly twisting themselves around each other, while at the other end of the scale, 'You Are My Dreamer' rides on squalling U2-style guitars. Kate comes into her own on the solemn 'Run To Me', all mournful cello and plaintive vocals, reminiscent of Propaganda siren Claudia Brucken. Only on tracks like the pedestrian 'Our Great Expectations' and a seriously risible reinterpretation of 'Daydream Believer' do they unmake the spell.
Given that most of Blue Kite have been writing and playing for 20 years or more, the depth and breadth of talent on show here isn't unexpected. What might be more of a surprise is just how fresh most of this album sounds, much more so than many bands less than half their age.