Release Date: Apr 7, 2015
Record label: Brassland
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Kate Stables is a chanteuse. As the front woman of her passion project This Is The Kit, the folksy Brit has elevated her new album, Bashed Out, to new depths. Aaron Dessner, best known for his work with The National, produced the album. He ….
It seems like This is the Kit has been bubbling under the surface for a long time. Since Kate Stables released her second album Wriggle Out The Restless in 2010, she’s steadily gained a succession of notable fans, including Elbow’s Guy Garvey, BBC Radio DJs Lauren Laverne & Huw Stephens (among others), and most importantly, The National’s Aaron Dessner. Dessner’s patronage is the most notable among these names, not only because This is the Kit went on to support The National on tour, but because he would then go on to produce (and perform on) Stables’ latest record, Bashed Out.
This Is the Kit wasn’t the most popular name to appear on Folk Off, the 2006 state-of-freak-folk compilation that pitted US artists (Sufjan Stevens, Animal Collective) against their UK counterparts (Vashti Bunyan, Tunng). At the time Kit captain Kate Stables hadn’t even released a debut single, let alone a full album, but that made her an ideal inclusion: a less established artist who could benefit from proximity to more popular names while demonstrating the depth and breadth of the scene. Built around a deftly picked guitar theme and showcasing her earthy vocals, "2 Wooden Spoons" held its own against Stables’ contemporaries.
Bloody awful name for a band This Is The Kit may well be but this book is one that must not be judged by its cover. Talking of which, the album cover is another non-grabbing element that is probably best left alone unless you weirdly yearn for the return of TV series Little House On The Prairie and the annoying Half-Pint. Basically, This Is The Kit is an outlet for English-born, Paris-based folk-rocker Kate Stables, and Bashed Out becomes her third long player and first since 2010’s Wriggle Out The Restless.
What strikes first – and stays with throughout Bashed Out – is the clarity, precision and vision of This Is The Kit. Not just the voice of Kate Stables, pure and right up in the mix from the first notes of “Misunderstanding”, but the whole band from the liquid guitar lines, the flat thud of the drums and scraping of violin that can be heard on that opening track to the forceful strum and rousing brass of the closing “Cold and Got Colder”. It’s the purity of folk music, that timeless oral tradition which needed clarity in order to be passed down through generations, which Kate Stables carries on in This Is The Kit – but she’s not someone completely beholden to the past.