It’s been a busy few years for Hastings natives Kid Kapichi. Since the release of their phenomenal debut EP ‘Lucozade Dreams’ in 2018, they’ve been toiling to provide their brand of garage punk to a wider market, with big success. Having toured with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Slaves and Fidlar, as well as vocal support from Steve Lemacq, Annie Mac and Tom Robinson, it’s fair to say their name is spreading like, well, not like a virus but like wildfire. Their inclusion on NME’s ‘Ones To Watch 2021’ is not only a worth inclusion, but an important one.
With their debut album ‘This Time Next Year’ being recorded during Lockdown and mixed/produced by co-vocalist and guitarist Ben Beetham, it’s fair to say there’s a key DIY element that resonates throughout the record. That punchy, almost scratchy sound where everything feels turned up to 11 without it ever being overdone, its balance is masterful.
Opening with ‘First World Goblins’, immediately you’re hit with scuzzy guitars and a thunderous bassline, courtesy of bassist Eddie Lewis. With drumming from so George Macdonald that’s so precise you could easily confuse it for a drum machine, it’s unmistakably funky, whilst still maintaining a grotty undertone. Guitarist/vocalist Ben Beetham harmonises perfectly with frontman Jack Wilson, and while the vocals aren’t particularly strong, the gravelly, gristly nature of Wilson’s voice is perfect for this sound.
Featuring a couple of singles from 2019, namely ‘Sardines’ and ‘Glitterati’, their ability to roll in older track amongst newer ones shows not only the everlasting fingerprints of their sound, but also it’s development. With ‘Glitterati’ taking aim at the superficial desire to become ‘an influencer’, its tongue in cheek barbs are as relevant now as they were two years ago. (As an aside: if there’s one song we would’ve wanted to slip through to the album from the back catalogue, it’s ‘Death Dips’ – check it out after you check out this album.)
Just past the midway point, ‘Fomo Sapiens’ sees a notable shift in their arrangements. Although the scuzzy discordant guitars are still present, there’s more eclectic accompanying sounds, from the gentle tinkling of a xylophone and synths, to the howls that echo in the interludes. Naturally, there’s always the potential for these elements to become cluttered and leave the track in a mess, but it’s so delicately added, almost whispered into the background, that it’s something that may not be apparent on the first listen, acting as delicious bonuses for the more avid listener.
‘Dotted Line’ continues that trend, a far more refined featuring an intricate melody and, yes, whistling. A slower build into the chorus before repeating the same melody, this is as closer to ‘AM’ than Arctic Monkeys have accomplished of late. A synth vocal led interlude before screaming into the closing verse, it’s a far cry from the ‘Thugs’, yet at no point does it sound out of place. It’s maddening, but it just works.
Closely followed by latest single ‘What Would Your Mother Say’, it’s catchy chorus and, in particular, sections of “lalalalalala” screams out for crowd interaction. With most of their 2021 tour rightly being put on hold (aside from a couple of socially distanced gigs in London and Brighton), it’s a travesty this won’t get the full live experience any soon. You can easily picture this being played in a dingey tent at a festival or a dive bar, beers flying everywhere and limbs casually slapping you in the teeth.
‘Don’t Kiss Me (I’m Infected)’ leans heavily into a distorted riff that’s present throughout the whole track. Featuring more synths, bells and cleverly written lyrics, there’s references to Covid-19, as well as a general dislike of people, with the basis being about trying to keep your distance from those who stand way to close to you. Categorically, the worst kinds of people.
Closing track ‘Hope’s A Never Ending Funeral’ is by far the slowest song without their entire discography. Piano led, it’s a slow ballad telling the story of a broken heart and, more appropriately, learning a lesson. Although Wilson’s voice isn’t the strongest, it again pays dividends here, sounding utterly heartfelt on the verge of breaking. Perhaps the biggest left turn on the album, it’s a song that in the right setting will either bring you absolute joy or bring you to tears.
Any fans of Kid Kapichi would’ve been touting them as a band to break big, and ‘This Time Next Year’ cements that thought. It can be difficult for a band to truly show their personality in full on their debut album, yet Kid Kapichi manage to let all their snark, witticism and eccentricities shine clear and bright. They don’t pretend to be something they’re not, playing to their strengths perfectly. ‘This Time Next Year’ is a record that deserves repeat listens, through both headphones, where you can catch the finer details, and through speakers loud enough to blow out your ear drums. Trust us, it’ll be worth it.