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Kane Strang - Two Hearts And No Brain

  • Published in UNX

For some, the transition from bedroom recording to the dreams of something bigger, never quite make the transition. Kane Strang has done more than most to ensure that we now sit here listening to his latest offering. Not only has he moved from the bedroom he also recorded his debut album in a disused German bomb shelter. Four years later and his new album Two Hearts And No Brain is a more polished offering. 

Originally hailing from New Zealand his upbringing and musical education includes reflects a swirling triumph of psychedelic lo-fi guitar sounds. Opening track ‘Lagoons’ is a statement of intent with its melodic lo-fi sound accompanied by Kane’s seemingly one dimensional, almost monotone vocals. Yet this is no bad thing, merely a mood setting. ‘Silence Overgrown’ grows his sound further with laid back catchy guitar hooks.

After a successful appearance at this year’s The Great Escape where he performed a brilliant set, this album confirms his rise and ability to create a relevant commentary on life’s daily grind. With tracks such as ‘Not Quite’ and ‘Oh So You’re Off I See’ we gain a more enriched sound, which is blended with Strang’s lyrical honesty whilst still keeping that downbeat, lo-fi sound.

A slower pace is selected for the middle part of the album with ‘See Thru’ and the excellent ‘Summertime In Your Lounge’ as the album continues to explore the frustration of disenchanted relationships. The album's lead single, ‘My Smile Is Extinct’ has a braver and more upbeat sound with more pop sensibilities. With more focus on an acoustic lead, this is another tale of love lost and the following spiral downwards, yet wrapped in very catchy lyrics:

"Yes she’s the best I’ve ever had, I’ll say it to her face and I’ll say it to her dad".

This is an obvious lead single and should create further attention for this talented singer-songwriter. The album's title track is further evidence of his ability to create melancholic strangled love songs that speak of the reality of dating in the instantaneous nature of the modern world. It is perfectly pitched with a realism which is a welcome change. He almost begins to answer his own spiraling decent into madding frustration with ‘It’s Not That Bad’ as if to create some light relief and to maintain his continued belief that all will be well at some point, he’s just not sure when. 

This is clearly an album that will grow on you the more listens it’s given. It’s also a very honest, open-hearted album that will have you going back again and again as we continue our struggle to understand the complexities of what the hell are we all doing. More of the same please Mr Strang.

Two Hearts And No Brain is available via Amazon and iTunes.


Festival Coverage: The Great Escape - Day 3

  • Published in Live

With a heavy head and tired feet we drag our carcasses out for the final day. The excellent Great Escape app alerts us to a surprise outdoor gig outside of the Brighton library and we head here first.  

To our complete surprise it’s the massive talent of Rag 'N' Bone Man. And though announced very last minute, it pulls in a huge crowd and as it's outdoors in the baking sunshine, it is certainly a wonderful start. As he knocks out his hits the word gets around and by the end of his short set he has a huge audience. As the crowds fade away we stay to catch the brilliant songwriting talents of Vince James, whose honest, in-depth storytelling lyrics are bound to project this guy to bigger and brighter things.

Next up is Flamingods a five piece from Bahrain who are multi-instrumentalist consisting of drummers and guitarist. They show of their skills by swapping after each track.  There swirling Middle Eastern rhythms meet psychedelic guitars in a wonderful mixture of world sounds.  Continuing the world music theme we plump for Sarathy Korwar an Indian artist of traditional folk music who has just been signed to Ninja Tune. The blend of beats, folk and jazz are continuing to grow his reputation on the back of his new album which we highly recommend.

We pop across to Brighton marina to catch some more beats in the form of Blue Lab Beats. These two guys have produced and remixed many artists including the aforementioned Rag n Bone Man.  After gaining reputation as remixers they decided to go alone and breakout on their own to huge effect.  We march to catch The Parrots in the blazing sunshine and the hideous weather of previous days is now a distant memory. These Spanish indie rock and rollers are great fun and bring a wonderful energetic sound. We now have a short few hours break from the afternoon sessions until we attack our final night. We start off with the wonderful Daniel Wakeford. He gained fame via the Channel 4 tv show The Undateables. And now he’s a singer at the festival. He is simply wonderful and the huge outdoor crowd roar and scream their appreciation for a man whose warmth and love of music and performing is undeniably infectious. 

We feel we need a calming softer act to refuel so we plump for Julie Byrne, a country acoustic artist who transports us to a front porch of the deep south with her wonderful melodies of the mysterious of love. She is also a wonderfully talent guitarist and we are suitably calmed and relaxed. Ayia are an Icelandic electro pop three piece who serve up post-apocalyptic, intimidating, glichy, abstract dance music.

Jane Weaver is an intense artist that demands your immediate intention with her intense haunting voice that we were lucky to catch as she drew a huge crowd. Even bigger crowds come to see Baloji who comes highly recommend. He has so many talents from poetry to filmmaking and he wows us with a visual and sound display of epic proportions. There was a rumour of a secret gig in the same venue and to our absolute delight it’s the incredible John Grant. We are treated to very intimate performance and judging by the sheer size of the crowd it wasn’t that big a secret. He is such an intense and wonderful performer with a wonderful sense of humour. 

We race to catch a bit of Brighton’s own The Magic Gang with their lovely cross over sound. Relaxed indie yet a larger vocal presents is how we would describe them. We are running out of time so we plump for a final bit of urban in the form of Ryan De La Cruz. He is simply sensational with a wonderful crowd interaction and boundless energy. This is followed by the equally excellent Stefflon Don who loyal fan based packed out the venue. She finished with an impromptu stage invasion where half the audience join her.  Our Final act of the three days were Pom Poko from Norway a geeky four piece punk pop band who sum up the brilliance of this festival. Multi layers of genres throw together from acts all over the world who all come to celebrate the amazing thrill of live music.

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