Kamikaze Test Pilots
Thursday 12 March 2009 Hobgoblin Staines
Oh kudzoka kutamba !
You get the feeling that the music of the KTP did not start out as a vision, but that the sounds gradually emerged, like grubs from pupae after a long dead summer. You get the sense that the music only evolved once that stifling long sessile period had reached a natural end and once the arid ideas and dead-end formulas had been tested, retested, drained and dried. Consequently the birth of the new sound, the emergence, is a warm and finely crafted creation … and well worth the wait.
Zimbabwe born brothers ‘Beans’ and ‘Wes’ formed the band back in 2005 with Martin on bass. Jim Davies (ex Loki) was a later UK addition to the outfit with his flying V lead guitar, dreads swishing and flipping in the air, and cosmic energy pulsing through his vital sinews like a rampaging torrent. Like the name of the band, the band members are a contradiction unto themselves … the diversifying contribution from each musician creating a stylistically unique tapestry of sounds and experiences.
Most of the KTP songs start out as simple riffs played upon fibrous frets. The sounds are then built up, layer-on-layer, with generous funky chord backdrops and feverish jazzy drum accompaniments, ultimately reaching satisfying plateaus of finely produced rock and blues. The two gung-ho heroes- Beans and Wes- have a good old time smashing and thrashing. Beans provides the formidably heavy metal vocals (actually Ozzie-esque in both size and quality) and Wes pounds out those drums.
Under all that flamboyant thrashing and swirling, Jim seems tougher and more focused than the brothers, but no less intriguing. Martin is the quiet man of the band, with his black porkpie hat and dark beard, beady eyes flicking left and right. He produces a succession of thrumming bass lines and lively rumbles. Very pluckin’ good.
At the start of the gig the early sounds of KTP reminded me of Second-Coming age ‘Stone Roses’ with that heavy bluesey-rock sound predominating, interlaced with subtle jazz-funk touches. But later in the show I was reminded more of ‘System’ when the sounds developed a progressive metal edge… strange time sigs, thematic links, unorthodox sound patterns etc. Tribal rhythms and stoner rock sounds are fused with complex metal guitar-work and harmonies to become complete backdrops onto which the boys can add their richly enjoyable Africans chants.
These boys write their own songs (credits also to Gavin Creedy) and go down a storm with their (mainly) student following in Berkshire UK. The funky beats and, at times, almost jazzy licks, added to those jump blues syncopated rhythms and a ‘twin lead guitar’ approach to the breaks, mean that this band is very reminiscent of old school classic rock. Large portions of solid noise (man, this band is noisome) and spot-on harmonies add to the overall texture and quality.
I particularly appreciated a heavy and almost instrumental track ‘Kumusha’ with its insistent hooks, possibly influenced by the likes of Black Label Society and, I would even guess, Iron Maiden. It is a fine rock song with plenty of false starts, vague whaleback dwalas and promises a-plenty reminding the listener of SOAD…but with additional vocal arrangements in the Bantu language, Shona, this song a classic-rock delight.
You can pick up the Kamikaze Test Pilots new six-song EP “Into The Sun” at their gigs or off their space. Go out to see them SOON in venues around the Reading area.