Get In by Kenickie was one of the albums I was given to review, back in my student magazine days, and I can remember being quite hard on it at the time. The problem is that their debut, At the Club, was such a stunning piece of work, that its follow-up had some pretty big pumps to fill. They don’t get much play anymore, since Lauren Laverne became a TV presenter and DJ, but in their prime they could articulate the highs and lows of teenage life like no one else. They had wit, verve, sass, brass and strong, sexy Northern accents. In short, they had personality, and personality goes a long way. Sadly, at the time, I didn’t realise how short their life span as an ensemble would be… I assumed that the disappointing second album was just a momentary stumble along the road to glory, glory… when in fact it marked the beginning of the end. It’s suggested on the Wiki page, that their demise could be blamed on an ill-advised move to London… one might even say their careers went South, if one were in a punning mood. Whatever the reasons, there’s no denying that the band broke on a fairly sour, and acrimonious note, deflating before their fans’ very eyes. That, as far as I can recall, is why I ended up trading the album in… it was tainted, somehow, by the fallout that followed. Getting sunburnt whilst watching them lip-sync to first single “Stay In The Sun” at a Radio One Roadshow probably didn’t help matters much either.
But now, in hindsight, I realise that even lesser Kenickie is better than no Kenickie at all… and by God, it’s a billion times better than most of the pole-dancer pop that’s being put out these days! One of the most frustrating things about Laverne’s career change is that I have to watch her interview artists who could never even hope to write a song as heartbreaking and heartfelt as “How I Was Made”. It’s like watching Tiger Woods ask for putting tips at a Crazy Golf course! So, with the passing of time, my admiration and adoration for her former band has grown and grown… and I’ve been mentally kicking myself for trading that CD ever since! Strange to find, now that it’s loaded into my computer for keeps, that I still remember almost every word of it! I can also understand how the electronic bleeps and bloops must have put people off, after the more rock ‘n’ roll Punka guitar-thrashing of the first album. The trademark harmonies and humour are present and correct, but there’s something much more sterile and contrived about it somehow. I remember being especially suspicious, at the time, of the fact that there were less shared song-writing credits, although I’m not sure what that really proves. Overall, Get In is still a very, very good album… it’s major flaw was simply that it had to follow a truly great album.
I went to see Emmy-Kate Montrose and Marie du Santiago (dig those stage-names!) with their new band Rosita, and was thrilled to be able to stand a mere two feet away from them in the back room of a pub. But, to my eternal shame, I must admit that I never seem to enjoy live music very much, whoever is playing, and they never got around to releasing anything longer than a three track EP, so it’s hard to say if they had what it took to bear the baton. Apparently, du Santiago has joined an all-female folk group called The Cornshed Sisters, and it’s lovely to hear them harmonising together, but inevitably their songs are a little less biting than those of Kenickie. It’s a sad sort of story, really, with four young friends forming a band, getting signed, and then breaking up as the pressure and machinery grinds them down. But their music will live on in one form or another… and maybe someday their true genius will be better appreciated. They’re just too damn adorable to be forgotten.