Remain Distracted is available at:
They Can’t Hurt Me– 9.7
The Heretic– 9.8
26th September, 2014
First Avenue Studios, Newcastle by David Curle (August 2014)
The Star & Shadow Cinema in Newcastle (with support from Goy Boy McIlroy, Schultz and Wake)
Blues-Rock, Experimental, Indie, Psychedelia
Having been celebrated (for their past endeavours) the mesmeric Newcastle quintet return with Stay Distracted. Kobadelta employ colours of The Doors, Arctic Monkeys and Black Sabbath (into their bubbling cauldron). Staggeringly tight and divine; their latest work is something you will not forget in a hurry- do not miss out on it
AS work commitments and sapping energy takes a hold…
I am almost nearing the end of my reviewing lifespan. It is good appraising bands and artists, but ‘real life’ is beckoning and pulling me forth. Writing anywhere up to 35,000 words a week, I am getting a little fatigued- need a bit of time to go and record my own music; set up businesses and train my thoughts wider. One of the great things about reviewing new music is finding sounds that otherwise would not come to my ears- my featured band have offered me the chance to discover something bracing and truly memorable. Before I introduce them to you, I want to raise one point: sound and intention. When searching around (and documenting) sapling music, you get a mixed bag of sounds- some acts are vibrant and daring; a lot tend to vary in quality. It is not the case that heavy and hard rushes create the biggest results- far from it. Even though bands like Bi:Lingual and Allusondrugs have given me the chance (to survey two of the most scintillating acts in the U.K.), I always look for deep and diverse movements; acts that spend as much time as possible galvanising their music. The aforementioned groups achieved this; they did not just lazily throw some notes together- they are bands that take the time to create gold-dust. Whether it is an interesting riff; the employment of classical strings; something a little unexpected- making sure your songs are as full and intriguing as possible is a paramount concern. I see too many musicians- come out- that are far too flimsy and lacking- their music does not hit all the bases (and truly stick in the mind). The very best music of 2014 has been defined by adventurousness, intelligence and consideration- so many truly terrific moments have come through. From the likes of Little Sparrow’s haunting and Kate Bush-esque etherealness (to Gypsyfinger’s Folk tenderness), the softer and gentler side of music has revealed some glistening diamonds. When it comes to the middle of the range- that mix of quiet and loud- then plenty of greats have come through- warriors of sound like Allusondrugs and Knuckle have stuck in my imagination. It is impossible to document (and give tribute to all) of the great new music highs, yet the abiding point remains this: the most prosperous and challenging acts are those that dig deeper and pack a huge punch. Having spent a lot of time investigating Electro.-Pop and Pop moments- over the last few reviews- I have been exposed to some elliptical and uplifting swells; music that is designed to invigorate and make you think. My featured act is a band that present plenty of beauty and lighter moments; their force and power is what sticks in the mind- something that grips and intrigues the brain. Before I continue on- and raise another couple of points- I will introduce the band to you:
Dom Noble – Vocals
Alex Malliris – Guitar
Chris Malliris – Drums
Jonathan Marley – Bass
Jordan Robson – Synths
“Newcastle based five-piece dabbling in dark and heavy ‘indie-psych-rock’… Having recently supported the likes of Temples, Splashh and Superfood, we’ve been described as “one of the finest live bands in the emerging psychedelic scene” (NARC. Magazine)“
Kobadelta have a huge reputation in the live arena- many have stated how incredible they really are. Containing some mystery and curiosity- they do not give much information about their influences and background- the listener is left to draw conclusions. Many musicians leave their social media pages sparse- thinking that transparency eradicates the mystery and purity of their music. It is true to a certain extent; it is always nice to learn as much about an act as possible- it gives the listener a complete picture and shows a personal touch; demonstrates how much that act want to connect with the listener. Full disclosure can come in more than one form- Kobadelta ensure they give plenty of eye-catching detail and information. Plenty of photos and images are free for the user- their social media spread is authoritative and detailed- you can hear and see a lot of the band across the Internet. Hailing from Newcastle, it is great to hear some music from the North East- an area of the U.K. I have not had a chance to explore too much. Being concentrated in Yorkshire and London- most of my reviews take my there- it is wonderful to head further north; explore an area I do not get to tread too much- Kobadelta are one of Newcastle’s most urgent and memorable bands. With the likes of Manchester and Liverpool having such a historic reputation, it seems that the North West gets a lot of the credit- and rightfully so. Yorkshire bands- as competitive as the North West- like Arctic Monkeys are rubbing shoulders with some of the best out there- few eyes look up to the North East. From legendary acts as diverse as Prefab Sprout (calling this area home) more critics and listeners should focus their mind here. When you explore certain regions, you can find some terrific things- Kobadelta have struck my ear and are a compelling proposition. Marrying Blues-Rock, Desert-Rock and Psychedelic together, they whip up some of the majesty of Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys- two of the most popular bands of the moment. If these bands’ latest albums have shown anything, it is that these genres can be mixed to spellbinding effect. Queens’ Like Clockwork… trades darkened crawls with epic riffs; tight and focused jams with sweeter introspection. Arctic’ created one of their finest L.P.s in AM– an album that sees them augment their talent for riffs; sharpen their craft and hit their peak. Before I get down to reviewing their music- and seeing who inspires them- it is worth seeing where they fit in the band market. Having gained such a huge reputation among critics and fans, it seems the Newcastle quintet are going to have a very busy and packed next year. They develop and grow with each release; pack their E.P.s with focus and phenomenal moments; take the listener into their world- not every band is capable of this. With so many mainstream bands starting to wane and waver, it seems that the likes of Kobadelta have the potential to claim some ground- take their place and nestle among their heroes. With regards the likes of Queens of the Stone Age- our boys are no lightweight equivalent. Packing an equivocal punch and strut, the young replacements have more energy and inspiration (than Homme)- they instill his Rated R/Songs for the Deaf regency in their latest offering. Too many new bands are provided a pompous amount of acclaim and support; elevated to unrealistic and stupid heights- they never achieve that sense of anticipation and regard. Kobadelta are the slinking and hard-working act that live up to the hype and positivity; they are serious contenders. With that all said, it is worth investigating the boys in more depth.
To get some background on Kobadelta, I have been listening to their early sounds. Their latest E.P.- The Hidden Door– was released back in February. Showcasing plenty of flair, passion and emotion, the E.P. resonated hard (with listeners and critics). Electric Chair was as sizzling as its title. Jumping and nervy at the start, the buzzed and blissed-out guitars investigate some Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf territory- bits of Arctic Monkeys’ darkness is in there. French words and blurred verbs hide in lyrics (that are constantly impressive and well-considered). Showcasing an economy and tightness, the track packs so much in- biblical judgement and commandments sit with byzantine offerings. The song’s heroine is cutting the wedding cake with “the hunting knife.” The band performances are focused and tight; every note and offering is honed and perfected- they allow looseness and fun to come through. Supernatural Cause began with some intent and striking percussion. Haunting and swirling, embers of Nick Cave and The Doors are seen; the cool-ass swagger that enters the fray (takes the song another direction)- dark and burbling undercurrents keep the song brooding and interchangeable. The ghosts of Tom Waits and Jim Morrison lurk in the vocals; seductive lip-licking matches graveled throbs and pulsations. Another song that matches it title, you are washed up in the spectral nature of the song; it grabs onto you and chills the bones- not a mordant number; it is a stone-cold chill that is designed to shiver the spine. The Hidden Door takes another course. Tribal and Celtic openings blend seafaring and swaying motions together; the vocal that enters has a rich croon- Morrison and Johnny Cash have an influence here. The Country embers are a nice touch (and show another side to the band)- they are adept in whatever genre they want to play. Paced and projected with a sense of calm and control, the song’s lyrics are scenic and vivid- the wordplay is deep, evocative and intelligent. Epic compositional developments augment the sense of occasion and build- graceful one moment; rushing the next. Love Stone Chic incorporated some touches of Kasabian, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Arctic Monkeys. What it provided was some razor-sharp and sizzling jams; slinking and snaking guitars- punchy and manful percussive utterances. The focus and determination are unequivocal; the stunningly teasing aspects make it one of the E.P.’s standout tracks- allure, sexiness and chic are hallmarks that few other bands can infuse. Not Above & Not Behind was a softer and gentler animal. An aching vocal turn gave the E.P. a rounded and full sound- the band do not just present harder and more Rock-influenced parables. Sensitive pride sparred with masculine urgency. Our hero’s possessed and emotive vocal looked at love and dedication- the heroine is someone who has done a lot for him. Having moulded and shaped his life; left her impressions, it seems that there is a sadness and longing here- maybe the relationship has ended; things are beyond repair. The devaluation and depreciation are evident and apparent- the song spares no time in getting under your skin. The shortest track on the E.P., it is a beautiful and still beauty- those tender acoustic guitar notes are wonderful. Knowing just what a force the band are now, it is because of works like The Hidden Door– a record that reveals new light and quality across repeated listens. The band’s first full work was Ritual (Time Flies). Unveiled back in 2013, it was the band’s first strike in the music world- something that made big impressions on reviewers. The influence of The Doors and Kasabian gave proceedings a crackle and vibrant sexuality; a leather jacket-clan coolness and strut. Chunky and huge riffs were part of a full sound and heaving bosom of sound- Blues-Psychedelia and bass-heavy rhythms sparred with Indie slices and Rock jams. Some of Michael Stipes’s Out of Time vocals- and songwriting nuance- showed itself here; the band came out with all guns blazing. Edgy and alert sounds hugged synths. and funky avenues. Time signatures switch and change- in the middle of tracks- with the listener kept alert and surprised; the cinematic and filmic grandeur struck critical ears. Many saw the release as a Tarantino soundtrack-in-waiting- something that would be perfect for one of his films. Sexy and fighting mixes with celebratory and partying- that ear and eye for atmosphere was established here. The quality and luster the band display impregnates the music- that set them up for their first E.P. Joining in unison some U.S. Blues-Rock flairs with classic acts- The Doors and Echo and the Bunnymen- the band were on form right from the start. I can see the development from their early work- the band have increased in stature and confidence. Although Ritual (Time Flies) was a stunning and incredible work, Kobadelta improved and flourished on its follow-up- the guys ratcheted the urgency and passion; made sure that few ears could ignore them. Over the last few months, the quintet have been working hard; putting together their movements and strategies- what Remain Distracted shows is that they get better with each new release. The new quartet of songs builds upon The Hidden Door and all it contained- those key elements and assured sounds remains. The band have gained fresh insight and influence; distilled this into their music and produced their finest work- a collection that will see bit results and profits. With this rate of progression and development, it means future releases are going to be staggering- few can match their evolution and potency.
Kobadelta themselves are influenced by a number of different acts and artists- whether directly or by name-check. In terms of the vocals, everyone from Al Jolson, Nas and Mark Lanegan (count as references). When surveying the overall sounds and style I am reminded of Queens of the Stone Age. If looking at a particular album- to reference with the band- I would say Songs for the Deaf is the most apt. In the same way that Songs for the Deaf was a genre-busting and startling Hard-Rock album; Kobadelta have a pioneering attitude and huge musical ambition- they can splice genres and create a wide range of sounds and movements. On Songs‘ the drumming is muscular and primal; the concept and production is innovative and a humourous. Kobadelta instill the same amount of imagination and power; they are musos that make music for the fondest music-lovers- detached from what is ‘expected’, they create songs that are the result of a deep passion (for their craft). There is a sense- with Kobadelta- you are listening to a ‘dream team.’ Like Queens of the Stone Age’s career-high line-up, you have the best and most striking talent on board- that comes through in their music. Thrilling, dramatic and odd moments are shared by both bands; the Newcastle quintet create a riot of sound and imagination- the quality and consistency throughout the E.P. is phenomenal high. When Q.O.T.S.A. unleashed …Like Clockwork, they presented something darker and more restrained. The album contained crunch and power; seduction was found in the darkness- making the songs such a treat. It is a focused and taut treat; an album that demands huge investigation- revealing charms and new surprises after several listens. There was a little desert sprawl and wandering; some of the hallmarks of their previous albums- new components came to play. Densely layered sounds, interwoven riffs and eerie sexiness sparred with one another; guitar fuzz and elastic soloing provided heady shades and heights- off of the back of a hard and struggling time for Josh Homme. Having been hospitalised- and subsequently bedridden- following complications from knee surgery, …Like Clockwork was the sound he found in the darkness- the inspiration that kept him going (and saved him). Kobadelta incorporate the key highlights and synonyms of that album; their sound has that elasticity and focus- they do not betray their identity; instead offer something new and inspired. Another band that come out in Kobadelta’s sound- one that is close to Queens of the Stone Age- is Arctic Monkeys. Looking around at an appropriate album- to draw in for comparison- would be AM. Imbued with elements of Queens of the Stone Age’s sound- Homme featured on the album; having produced its predecessor, Humbug- this album marked a high-point for the Sheffield band. AM drew inspiration from Rock titans and greats: some of the riffs featured could be compared to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The album was built on portentous beats and dark thrills- the combination of fun and seriousness provided a great contrast. Kobadelta match wistful Pop (and light) moments with muscular riffs; paranoid and haunted snatches come out in their current work. Huge craft and confidence defines their work- the same qualities that went into AM. Kobadelta instill maturity and focus into their music; meatier and compelling tracks- they do not forgo the frivolity and youthfulness (that defined Arctic Monkeys’ early work). Looking around at possible U.S. influences, The Doors (are a band that have compelled and enforced) Kobadelta. In terms of album comparisons, I would say The Doors is the most pertinent example. That disc launched the band’s intention; remains one of their finest work- it inspired a legion of other acts. That combination of Jazz, Blues, poetry and knockout blows took critics and fans by surprise- it is a debut that has rarely been matched. Spidery guitars, hypnotic backdrops and alluringly powerful vocals ran throughout The Doors– the nonstop melodicism and dynamic tension was hard to top. Kobadelta ensure they pack as much punch and intrigue into their music (not quite on the same plain) and draw in some of The Door’s early-career facets. The vocal performances from Dom Noble possess embers of Morrison’s velvet and sexual croon- that comparable lustre, power and raw edge. The Morrisson-esque Dionysia persona matched with stoned and immaculate moments- few can forget or ignore their debut album. Our Newcastle five-piece provide their own take of The Doors’ commingling of potency and seduction; this comes through evidently on Remain Distracted. Being a direct influence of the band, Black Sabbath are a name that came to mind (when listening to their latest offerings). If you look at a Sabbath album like Paranoid; that was one of the band’s finest early cuts. Within, the Visigoth rhythms and blissed-out riffs inspired bands like Nirvana and Metallica. At times it is soothing and seductive; for the most part it’s hypnotic and frightening- the album defined the Heavy-Metal revolution. Kobadelta rustle up incredible riffs, multi-sectioned songs and epic drama; the guitar vocabulary is incredible- the monolithic and steamroller power cannot be refuted. Whilst Kobadelta do not touch on the same depressive and dark themes of war, death and genocide; they employ some of the drugged and slowed-down hallucinations. The Stooges are another act that come out in Kobadelta’s sounds. If you take an album like Fun House– that remains one of the band’s finest works. The album contained raw and sweaty peaks; energetic and immediate songs; the vocal ferocity and potency sticks in the imagination. The guitar work that came out in that album- with the increased confidence and potential- is only topped by the captivating and scintillating vocals- the album remains one of their masterpieces. Kobadelta incorporate similar stab and sizzle; razor-sharp guitar work and electrifying vocal performances- that unite Punk, Rock and Blues together. The lyrics The Stooges penned displayed intensity and disquiet; the bass was played like a weapon of destruction- the focus and tightness of the entire band is startling. Kobadelta ensure their songs are possessed of vivid and evocative scenes; moments that draw you in (and stay in the mind). The Black Angels are a band that have made a mark on Kobadelta. The Directions to See a Ghost cemented The Black Angels’ reputation as one of best bands on the scene. The knowledge of Pop hooks and melodicism meant their epic jams and buzzing attacks had catchiness and dance-along charm. Their album contained plenty of ideas and directions; sounds that appeal to a multitude of listeners. Kobadelta ensure that their music is as rich and deep (as The Black Angels’); filling every moment with the same sense of occasion and potency. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club threw in guts, dynamism and aggression into Take Them On, On Your Own. That album contained swagger, cool and endless authority: the percussion brought the trio together with its power; the maturity and potency defined that album. Kobadelta have their own version of swagger and ice-cool looks; their music has that same confidence and ambition. The final duo of names (I will include) are Echo & the Bunnymen and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Porcupine was an album that brought Echo & the Bunnymen to a new audience: its brilliance and giddiness excited listeners and fans- impossibly exciting fusions of Rock and Pop were included. The intricate production touches; yearning and soaring vocals are qualities Kobadelta share- they possess similar driving bass and urgent drum work. Kobadelta share Echo & the Bunnymen’s knack of delivering great songs with a fun-time and emotive vocal force. The psycho-sexual vocal yelps- and Bowie-esque tics (that came out in Echo’s debut album, Crocodiles)- was backed by huge and swelling compositions. Spookily evocative gems sat with blinking hallucinations and primal vocal performances- taking inspiration from the likes of The Doors. The visceral and exciting moments of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ come out in Kobadelta’s work. The operatics, theatrics and dark croon- that compares with Nick Cave’s pipes- are mixed with overmodulations and near-explosion. To be fair, it is best to judge the band on their own merits. Usually- when writing this section- I can levy a band (or act) with others; write quite a hefty amount- not today, mind. Whether it is because of the bands listed- and the lack of critical feedback- I have struggled a bit. When reading reviews and feedback- on the artists mentioned above- there is so much brevity and scantness- it has been impossible to flesh it out and provide full clarity and conviction. It is true that the likes of The Doors and Queens the Stone Age have made big impressions; the U.K. greats like Echo & the Bunnymen have played a big part- Kobadelta do not come across as a re-appropriation or tribute band. You can sense birthmarks and skin grafts in their flesh; little hints and sensations- the sense of individuality (Kobadelta provide) marks them aside from their contemporaries. The best way to do the band justice; pay testament to their music is to get down to reviewing it…
When assessing the E.P., Kobadelta explained it in these terms:
“The tracks are from our forthcoming EP ‘Remain Distracted’, which we will be launching on Friday 26th September at the Star & Shadow Cinema in Newcastle. Support will come from some of our favourite local bands including Goy Boy McIlroy, Schultz and Wake. ‘Repetition’ from the EP will is already available at soundcloud.com/kobadelta as a free download. The CD version of the EP is available to pre-order at bandcamp.com/kobadelta and will also be available on the night of the gig. We feel that the EP is the best representation yet of what we consider to be Kobadelta’s ‘sound’ after experimenting with a range of ideas on our last few releases. It comes on the back of what has been a great year for us so far, being chosen to play Newcastle’s Evolution Emerging festival as well as Stockton Weekender (with Happy Mondays and Public Enemy headlining) and Split Festival (with Maximo Park, The Cribs and Dizzee Rascal), and a live session for BBC Introducing. In the lead up to the gig we will be playing The Boiler Shop in Newcastle with The Temperance Movement on Sunday 31st August, and supporting Allusondrugs at Newcastle’s Think Tank on Sunday 14th September. The gig will also be used as the launch night for our singer Dominic Noble’s clothing and design label The Greensleeve (www.thegreensleeve.co.uk), whose artwork has featured on Kobadelta’s previous releases (including the new EP), as well as for other local bands such as Bernaccia. Described as ‘Supernatural visions projected in new technicolour’, Dominic creates collages from recycled vinyl record sleeves and will be making his work available as prints and a clothing range.”
Siam is the first track off the blocks- a song that gets to the races instantly. After a snatch of feedback and feline yowl, the band elicit a rampant and galloping introduction. The guitar and drum dueling reminds me of Queens of the Stone Age mixed with Arctic Monkeys- there is that dark undertone that is contrasted with elastic and upbeat power. The insatiable and catchy mandate is one that lodges straight in your mind: teasing and slinking, it propelled by a solid bass performance. The percussion crackles and smashes; the weaving and snaking electronics allure the senses- preparing you for what is to come. Our hero steps to the mark and is remaining distracted- his gears “are grinding“; there is a sense of anxiety in his voice. Buoyed by the rush and insistence of the composition, the vocal keeps the momentum flowing and endless. Our frontman felt compelled (to write his sweetheart) a letter- write down his confession and get it off of his chest. Instantly you bond with intrigue and mystery; speculate what is being documented and stated- that oblique and fascinated side comes out straight away. Throwing in humour, cocksure declaration and a sexy swagger, our man is like chocolate in a child’s pocket; the hottest thing “since records began“- that unbridled assurance and urgency is something Jim Morrison would be proud of. The next verse looks at footprints on the bonnet; the window is open and that curious nature augments- you picture scenes and wonder just what is happening. Unfolding like a dramatic mystery, the hero ensures his voice is endlessly arresting and compelling. Marshalled by a dizzying and tripping guitar weave; authoritative and composed bass drive and percussive tenderness- the song’s composition adds weight and colour to the main focal point. Proclaiming that “we are not so different“, our frontman seems to be speaking to a sweetheart- perhaps I am off the mark- due to the romantic nature of his delivery. Previously, words have looked as sonnets and requiems- how we put emotion and heart into these poetic realms. The following lines offer no ambiguity or room for misinterpretation. Words that implore (the girl) to get down on all-fours slither with lustful and hyper-sexual intent- the vocal drips with lust and lascivious chocolate. Our man is not short of confidence and pride: knowing how electrifying and gripping he is, you feel he is beckoning his woman into his web- the hunter is on the prowl and is crawling through the suburban streets. As he- and his gal- are the same behind closed doors, there is a sense of submission: maybe his sweetheart has been resisting; the elemental proclamations are designed to draw her in. As the listener becomes embroiled in the sensuality and raw edge of the delivery, the band elicit a fiery and sparkling coda. Unleashing a twisting and scintillating riff, the entire group unite in voice- each player is tight and fully focused. Incorporating buzz-saw Blues-Rock with Desert-Rock swagger, the line is intoxicating and gripping- a swirling mezzanine of colours and concrete. Languorous and reptilian, the snarling riff burrows into the brain. Towards the closing moments, our hero lets his voice climb and rise- repeating a mesmeric coda, it becomes more pressing with each delivery. Distracted with gears grinding, the desperation and feral rapture bursts through the speakers. Supported by a yowling and animalistic riff; a taut and menacing bass slink; that pummeling and insatiable drumming- you are gripped by the intensity and sweat-ridden passion of the finale. Leaving you breathless and fascinated, the sense assault is the perfect opening (on a wonderful E.P.). Repetition is a song that is a free download- subverts expectations from the very start. Primal and rampaging guitar determination gets the song off to a flyer- it is a Hard-Rock riff that ties in Black Sabbath and The Stooges. Gritty, violent and wide-eyed, it is filled with potential. Soon enough the percussion arrives to add catchiness and spring; when the instruments combine the song mutates into something springier and more bouncing- that hardness remains but the song gets fuller and gains swagger. Delirious and victus, our untamed hero is keen to get onto the microphone. Paying testament to the necessity of repetition, vivid and bayou-themed scenes are threaded forth. If you are gone swimming- a message directed at anonymous figures- then be weary of its moonlight dangers; the potential for fatality lingers. Our man apologies and offers demure- if he got “carried away“- words of self-destruction and reflection come to play- it seems a particular friend or love is being looked at. Someone that (our frontman) can always rely on, it seems like they are the leveled and measured head (our man needs). Like Siam, the track has a restless and incredible pace and potency- that never-ending kick and drive takes your mind away and wraps you up. With a vocal performance- that injects lustful passion with reverend tenderness- the band are in no mood to retreat in the shadows- infusing a myriad of multifairiousness and vibrancy. Dark and scorpion stings strike with roaring and lioness guitar swings- melting Q.O.T.S.A., Arctic Monkeys, The Stooges and Black Sabbath (into their boiling pot). With Brigitte Bardot and kaleidoscopes- being thrown into the lyrical mix- our hero spills his words with a breathless and unstoppable force- I am loathed to keep mentioning The Doors. As unique a snowflake (as the band are) it is impossible not to hear the gin-soaked ghost of The Lizard King. Not quite as overtly in flagrante as Morrison, our hero enthralls you with his bursting and sexualised lung power- you get lost in the tumble and gripping melodrama of the song. At times some of the words may get a little buried- some run into one another- but the emphasis is on mood and potency- the sheer passion and evocativeness that is summoned forth. The composition is an evolving and interchangeable beast. The time signature and pace shifts at one point; the song relents into exile- allowing something reflective and restrained to come into effect. From the animal instincts of before, there is a sense of measure and calm- that sound expands and cracks to allow fervency and pugnaciousness to swing in. As you are bedding-in and starting to predict, the band offer a brief pause- the song teases before bursting into life (once more). Evoking the shadiness, danger and beauty of the night-time streets, the band unify to kick the crap out of the senses; take your brain out of your head- strip the bones clean. The dying seconds go down fighting; the percussion rifles and avalanches; the guitar screams and bays for blood- the percussion hammers and staggers. Being entranced and sucked into the band’s vortex; the vocals are not done talking- repetition is repeated once more. Cleverly giving the song new meaning- repeating the song’s title gives the song essential life and memorability- were the song left on an aural close; you would not be as impressed and taken aback. Showcasing the necessity of lyrical economy and incredibly well-considered songwriting, it is a track that leaves with a big a bang (as it began). They Can’t Hurt Me starts with some incredible bass work. Bouncing and ripe, it reminds me of some of Songs for the Deaf‘s most intriguing moments; a little of Echo & the Bunnymen’s early work- it foreshadows a brief guitar rattle- displaying sounds of a Tarantino-directed Western-themed opera. The song’s hero returned from France; his lover “moved abroad“- it seems like a game of cat-and-mouse is unfolding. Crime scenes and criminal avenues are explored- the Tarantino predicament is reinforced- as the scenes unfold. Keeping the composition tight and focused- not allowing histrionics or needless energy- everything is tense and edgy. The sweetheart said “no to a bullet-proof vest“; the hero has a wire on his collar- that espionage-cum-assassin blend fuses in the scenic lyrical delivery. Showing vocal dexterity, our hero makes his voice sound emotive and urgent; culpable and innocent- a divine blend. The song looks at cartel infiltration; an appointment with the oracle- gang-land scenes and edge-of-your-seat butt-clenching tableau keeps you gripped and hooked. Throughout the track, you project images and unfoldings- provide your own version of events. In my mind, the duo are in France- not the first place you’d expect cartels to linger- as the song has a romantic and strangely Parisian sound. Among the moonlight and boulevards of twisted lovers, plots and plans are being formulated- the chase is on and the danger increasing. Our hero is indefatigable and heroic; a James Bond figure, he is indestructible. Making sure his self-assurance and confidence never wanes, the vocal delivery is impassioned and cocksure- never allowing arrogance or glibness to rule the roost. Perhaps looking outward- and casting himself out of the picture- we look at a hero that sleeps in the back of his limousine- in his pajamas he seems like a Brianstorm-esque anti-hero. Having gone from Australia to the Caribbean, the plot-line twists and evolves- the lyrics are sharp and fascinating. Displaying the same intelligence, wit and sense of story (the likes of Alex Turner possess), you are enveloped in the drama and theatrics. The vocal is one of the most entrancing, here. Going from a sensual and deliriously sexual smoothness; it mutates into something sharp and acerbic- sounding a little like Morrissey. Our frontman is deftly able to transmogrify from a chest-beating alpha to a Mancunian legend (in the space of a few seconds)- keeping his rock-solid personality in tact and firm. When the song’s heroine (or “bitch” as she’s described) failed to predict “anything at all“; that judgmental and accusatory tone is laced in- there is love and passion underneath. Whereas- on previous outings- gorgeous and emotive synths. have traded with brutal guitar work, here things are more evocative and Blues-infused. The guitars are not as snarling (as before); instead sensually swinging and licking its lips- matching the lyrics perfectly. Cinematic and atmospheric, the guiding and hardened bass sting conjoins with the rattling and bullet-fire percussion- the band pull together one of their most impressive and stunning performances. There seems to be a ménage à trois in place- a triangle of passion and deceit that is the root of the story. The heroine is loved by the hero; our hero loves her and all of this means neither (of the men) can be hurt- whether there is a sexual component to each relation I am unsure. The film explodes and contorts. That Doors-cum-Queens of the Stone Age melting of octane-pumping drama and sexual is enforced in the coda of “I love her/they can’t hurt me.” As the song starts its long fade, the scene has been set; the intentions laid bare- you hope that a satisfactory resolution was (arrived at). Following the assassin consignment- and anxious razor-wire nerves- the song completes its course- leaving you exhilarated and primed (for what is to come). Taking Remain Distracted to its close is The Heretic. The song opens up with intent and meaning- the soft percussionary shimmers have grace and urgency; possibility and wealth. Differing from the heavy and hot openings (of the previous cuts), here something more restrained and melodic is presented. Smooth and slinking, there is a teasing and f***-me sensuality to the introduction- the red-dressed, top-heavy, scarlett-lipped femme fatale is blowing smoke from the side of her mouth- teasing her finger around the rim of a Cosmopolitan. In the bar room, darkness and low-lit sensuousness of the night, the listener is hooked into the Blues-inspired embryonic moments. When our frontman comes to the mic., he possess all of his trademark directness and vitality. “Satanic on a Tuesday“; a heretic the rest of the week, his calendar and diary is laid bare- coming across as (supernatural) ritual potion of Craig David’s 7 Days and The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love (making me wonder whether David is shagged-out from all his exploits). The devil-may-care preacher is expounding his (lack of) virtues and faithfulness- his libidinous and inflamed loins have no time for religion, God or anything so vanilla. Throwing French temptation, wordless coos and flavoursome ingredients (into his cauldron of boiling lust), our hero is at his most playful and free- that confidence and assuredness has never sounded as defined and meaningful. Appropriately enough, a kick-ass, apocalyptic guitar buzz is ratcheted in- like a chainsaw through an oil refinery- blazing with vermilion passion, it is a mind-blowing and bowel-shiftng earthquake. Tossing in- and off to- the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Jimi Hendrix, it is a primeval and staggering sound- our band is in their element. The hero is looking at so-called good girls and innocents- the sort that turn tricks for favours; sell themselves readily: what sort of purity is there out there? Girls “flirt to make tips“: the vultures will circle in and take their chances. Employing a staccato and Hip-Hop-inspired delivery- the vocal trips and tumbles- you get mesmerised by the free-flow delivery; it gives the song a sexual nature- that tangible physicality is what makes the words stand out. Once more, the beauty and glory comes through in unity- the band performance is as tight and compelling as any. The loose and sybaritic hemisphere (of our hero’s brain) is being left to guide and implore- he is in his wheelhouse here. It is not just the lyrics and vocals (that catch your attentions)- with their vivid images and hypnotising allure- the composition is an equal match. Aside from the crunching and Tokyo-destroying Godzilla attack, there are psychedelic and drug-addled vibrating swaggers; deluded and trepidatious anxiety stings; colours mingle. The percussion is raw and alert; keeping the tension and rawness high- the bass drives and guides the movement. The entire ensemble is a magnificent cornucopia of sensations and sizzling fireworks- so many genres, movements and ideas are crammed in. Packing huge emotional clout, the snarling reptile keeps on hunting; never easing or resting. Becoming fatigued and overwhelmed (by his own insatiability), our hero’s voice loosens its grip- retreating into the shadows (briefly). Keeping the unpredictability and fascination levels high, the song returns to its sapling sound- that calmed and Western-flavoured twang. The strings twiddle and capture with unassailable desire. Teasing and muzzled, the parable is overthrown and obliterated (by a firestorm explosion of buzzing guitars); warfare of electricity- the satanic retribution reaches its heights. Topping anything- the likes of Kasabian and their ilk have produced- it is a stone-cold gem- the song is the band’s masterpiece swan-song. Just as you are begging for more, the track begins to fade- the listener is left wanting more; feeling reprimanded and stifled. It is a beautiful trick to pull: leaving the listener hungry and jonesing for more; having witnessed so much…
Before I get down to complimenting the band members (themselves), it is worth giving the E.P. a summing-up. My least two favourite words in the English language are ‘miracle’ and ‘journey’. The former is a tabloid-favourite word- that is installed into ever heart-bleeding cancer recoveries and against-the-odds conception. Every time a woman falls pregnant- when doctors said it was out of the question!- when a destructive and seemingly terminal cancer is overcome- that horribly over-used word is applied. It annoys me, because there are no such thing as miracles; people beat long odds all the time- there are thousands that die due to cancer; never able to have a child. Such an infantile and moronic word, the people (who use it) are ridiculously pretentious and arrogant humans- the assumption is that God is playing his hand. In addition to God not existing; if he did, you really think he would give a shit about someone’s pregnancy or cancer? Forgetting wars and mass murder, he would much rather make sure a middle-aged woman does not succumb to bowel cancer- forget the millions that die each year; let’s preserve this one unspecial and boring human. My rant aside, that word ignores the human elements; the role people play in (things like cancer recovery). I have seen the word ‘miracle’ applied to music before- using it in the pejorative sense; applying it in the context of Remain Distracted would be a huge injustice. God dislikes Rock and Blues; it is the Devil that jams to the best tunes (as we all know)- if there was an hell-bound synonym for ‘miracle’ then I would apply it here. Few bands come across with such a unabatable confidence and conviction- the E.P. is rampantly assured and urgent (from start to finish). The performances are uniformly tight and staggering; each player is at the top of their game- the songs are nuanced and hugely memorable. Possessing a quartet of tracks, the E.P. is a controlled and restrained animal; one that leaves you begging for more- whilst offering so much wonder and brilliance. Taking in the sexualised and spiritual mythology of The Doors; ramping in some feral Punk fuzz (of The Stooges); tie it to bone-shaking and pre-coital lust of Black Sabbath, and you have a phenomenal concoction. Kobadelta ensure that other bands take a back seat- are used as guides and jumping-off points- and ensure their voice and soul comes through- Remain Distracted is a distillation of their hard work, uniqueness and incomparable talent. My other least favourite word- in the whole wide world- is ‘journey.’ Fine when applied to a physical transversion; it infuriates me when applied to anything else- most commonly musical endeavours and relationships. It is nauseating and head-explodingly obnoxious when a an act claims an album (or record) is a ‘journey’- it is as pious, pompous and pathetic as you can imagine. A journey is a physical thing; applying it to metaphysical and emotional areas is horrifyingly obnoxious. That word is over-used- in this context- a cliché that should be eradicated. Away from the brainless profferings of musicians, love-struck goons and leprous celebrities, I will apply the word in a more literal sense: the way something can move you; from one location to another. Kobadelta not only take your mind around the world- here we go Down Under and to the Caribbean; through various streets, scenes and locations- from dark bars to bedroom sheets. Your brain, mind and bones are shifted and thrown about- detached from the body; the music is capable of lifting you off the ground in a fit of levity. Few musicians take the trouble to ensure their lyrics (and music) has an itinerant desire and sense of depth- too many come across as one-dimensional and obsessed (with love and relations). By mixing personal emotions with scenic and filmic atmosphere, the E.P. is a mini epic. It is time I get to the band themselves. Through the E.P. there is friendly fire- each player fights and muscles for attention. In addition to being a well-oiled and tight unit, each performer showcases their impeccable chops- stepping into the spotlight to gain hegemony and attention. The synth. utterances from Jordan Robson are the documentation and alliteration of early-days (The) Doors: the representation of the sexual and primal lust. Melodic, impassioned, dizzying and evocative, it is a vital soldier- one that manages to summon up a festival of mood and wonder. Combing brilliantly with his cohorts, Robson manages to inject heart, soul, flair and danger into the music- the songs would be weaker without it. Jonathan Marley’s bass has plenty of melody, rhythm and tautness- at times it stands alone and is left to overwhelm and impress. Tight, menacing and driving, it keeps the songs in-check and focused- never allowing the dam to break. Able to whip up a weight of sexual endeavour, exploitative anger- springing dance- it is a stunningly consistent and impressive performance. Ensuring every song resonates and sticks in the mind, the bass notes are relentlessly gripping and focused. Chris Malliris provides the whack, wallop and pummel (of an army of men)- at times he sounds like he has six arms! Able to calm and reflect, his sticks can burst into life with the drop of a hat- his range and professionalism is exquisite. Adept at seducing with ease; when rampant and enraged he is at his peak; down in the mix and guiding he is superb- you cannot fault the sheer passion and conviction throughout. Keeping the backbone straight and firm- at times bent over a kitchen table- the persuasion is one of the most striking facets (of the E.P.). Blending seamlessly with his cohorts, Malliris marks himself out as one of the most spellbinding drummers about. Alex ensures the name Malliris is synonymous with talent and genius- his guitar work is among the most staggering I have heard this year. It is hard to believe one man is making all that sound; his range and authority is evident. At times his fret work is enraptured and overcome- sounding biblical and apocalyptic. Plenty of melody, rhythm and composure comes to the fore- stunning and detailed riffs are as synonymous as calmed and emotive lines. Kudos goes to him and his craft- it will be great to hear more of it in the future. Comfortable and confident (when projecting a cocky and swaggering swing); elemental when riffing his nuts off; at ease in the smoky shadows of reflection- few guitarists have that mobility and sense of confidence. The final notes go to Dom Noble: the embodiment of the music itself. Were a lesser and weaker vocalist- that is most of them- put up front, you would get a weaker and less wondrous E.P. Comparisons have been levied towards the likes of Jim Morrison and Iggy Pop- I know that Noble is inspired by the likes of Al Jolson too. It is true that there is plenty of sexuality and primal urge throughout- you can detect that lustful spirit of Morrison. Iggy’s dog-like and jagged execration howls are relevant to Noble- he is capable of embodying the Punk leader with ample ease. As much as the likes of Alex Turner, Josh Homme and Tom Meighan (show their skins), the performances are defined by their individuality and originality- it is unfair to compare Noble with anyone else. Leading with conviction and authority, his performances are scintillating and gripping- the songs are brought to life spectacularly. All of these elements- the band contributions and considerations- have led to one of this year’s finest E.P.s. Having been staggered by the likes of Allusondrugs, Little Sparrow and Ellene Masri: I am always staggered by the range and breadth (of new music)- Kobadelta are one of the best new acts I have assessed all year. Let us all hope that they have plenty of ambitious plans ready for the future- the public will definitely crave more of their patented blend of song.
Kobadelta are a tight and mesmerising unit- determined to stamp their mark on the music world. It is the small things that impress me about the band. Their music is alive and gripping; endlessly mobile and surprising in its twisting moments- it creates a gravity of wallop (and lodges in your brain). Being familiar with their previous E.P.- and single- I can see how much the band have developed. Remain Distracted is an apt title- your thoughts and senses are taken and interrupted; the atmosphere and potency summoned forth is heady and compulsive- a collection that everyone should delve into. The band care a lot about fans and newcomers- their Facebook page has plenty of great photos and professional shots. One of my biggest gripes- when it comes the new acts- is the lack of information and photos. Kobadelta have ensured they have a wide range of outlets and pages- you have no excuse for missing out. Their snaps are not just candid and scrappy; there are lots of great portraits and images- it may sound like a minor point; few artists take the trouble to do this. Showing how much music means to them; how prepared and ready they are, all of this comes through in their songs- a mandate and gauntlet has been thrown down hard. I am sure they are already planning gigging ambitions and future songs; setting their sights high and making arrangements. Being heralded and celebrated throughout Newcastle and the North East, the five-piece have the potential to take their glory across the U.K. Being a fan of Psychedelia, Indie, Blues-Rock and these genres- any band that can add something new (to the forms) are canny and belta. The competition in music is high and endless; so many different artists are coming through- I feel Kobadelta will fare pretty well. The early days are vital quality barometers- they can hint at what the future holds. Make sure you investigate Remain Distracted and all it has to offer- catch the boys in the flesh and see just how good they are. When they come to London, I will be sure to grab a place in the audience; see whether their live reputation is well-founded- I have no doubt about that. Before I wrap up, I want to circle back to the North East. An area that seems to be secondary- in terms of acclaim- to Yorkshire, Manchester, London and Liverpool- it is high time more people start embracing the likes of Newcastle. Equality and fair division is the key to harmony and musical prosperity- getting a great mix of regions and artists together. The best way to seek out- and proffer- this is to keep your eyes on social media. It may be a bit useless when it comes to some people- unwilling to share music and connect with others- but is throwing out some terrific acts and newcomers. Kobadelta are going to keep grounded and leveled- not wanting to get ahead of things. If you are a fan of many of the bands mentioned in this review- and the genres- then you will find a lot to like; much to recommend- the band go deeper than this. Plenty of anthemtic and graceful touches sit in their music; they are confident when honing in on softer and more melodic emotions- they have a variegated and wide-ranging ammunition chest. As I start to prepare a valedictory statement- prefacing a sabbatical away from the day-to-day routine- I am looking towards my own endeavours; planning my first foray into music- excited but a little nervous. I know all too well just how unforgiving and capricious the music industry is- how it hails an artist the one week; spits them out the next. Our quintet should have no fears; I have been inspired by them- more determined to put my own sounds down and jump into the ball pit. The next few months will see autumn arrive; the chill come (and a subjugation of sunshine)- a lot of musicians are going to retreat to the studio (to find comfort through song). If you are thinking that way, I would offer this advice: make sure you have put as much thought into (your music) as possible. It is all very well putting covers up on YouTube etc., but when it comes to your own fully-realised output you have to start with a bang- there is no room for false starts and unsure mindsets. Kobadelta have had critics and reviewers go mad for their music; salivated outpourings have tried to sum up their essence and potential- some have gotten pretty close. Their sound is a Tarantino epic; it has all the sounds he would love- almost like he could write a move called Remain Distracted. The music plays like an itinerant movie; events unfold and stories paint some very vivid and excited swathes- that is just one side to them. Rampant and chest-beating moments of The Doors- in addition to their compositional majesty- fuses with some incredible bass work; the vocals are uniformly velvety and gripping- the band performances are tight and intuitive. Buzz has been surrounding the band like flies around a honey pot- there is no hyperbole or over-exaggerations. The quintet have a truly unique and unexpected sound- one that draws in some unexpected sources and moulds it around their own startling concoction of flavours. Hitting you like a spiked cocktail, the music is drunkening and head-spinning; it demands attention- quite a bitches brew. Perhaps other critics have assessed the band better- certainly more concisely- few would have taken as much away- the boys have managed to lift me a bit (and make me feel less crappy). Most music hits on a base level; it does not go skin-deep or penetrate too much. The band is synonymous with words like ‘penetrate’ and ‘sex’- if their songs had arms, they would probably stick them down your underwear. It is a sizzling cohabitation of layered and nuanced sounds (and incredible performances)- each band members is at the very top of their game. Displaying a keen ear for dialogue and wordplay, the boys are incredible songwriters- injecting the poetic, oblique and witty together. Having so much affection for U.S. acts, I would not be shocked if they found themselves in demand there- they seem natural-born to the charming bars and cafes of New York’s Lower East Side. As precise as a robotic hysterectomy; as mind-bending as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini speaking French (she needs to master English first)- exciting as Justin Bieber’s funeral announcement- their E.P. is an Old Testament chapter of song. While I prepare my next review, I am delving back into Kobadelta- into their tremendous current slice. Thinking about it…
MAYBE I could keep this reviewing thing going…just a bit longer!?
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