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Kilowatthours - The Bright Side

  by Mark Rowland

published: 6 / 5 / 2002

Kilowatthours - The Bright Side
Label: Temporary Residence
Format: CD


Promising but unfortunately all too brief second album, which incorporates piano and electronics into a lo-fi indie rock sound, from Sebadoh influenced Kentucky based group

Kilowatthours are from Louisville in Kentucky, home of the legendary Slint, and the influence of the seminal post-rock band can be heard in the rhythms of ‘The Bright Side’, the trio’s latest album. This is where the comparisons end, however. Kilowatthours incorporate piano and electronics into their lo-fi indie rock sound, with a song-writing style similar to Lou Barlow of Sebadoh at his most tuneful. Opener ‘A how-to-book’ starts off like a dubby Tortoise song, before the guitars and kick in, morphing the track into a sombre indie drone accompanied by a gentle organ part. On second track ‘Welcome to Orlando’, the organs are more full on and dark, reminiscent of Brian McMahan’s post-Slint project The For Carnation. Instead of sinister, half whispered vocals, however, we get proper singing that takes some of the darkness away from the track, though it’s by no means light hearted. ‘Last Thursday’ is a much cheerier and more guitar lead track, and is one of the tracks most like Sebadoh in style with it’s simplistic song structure and slightly fuzzy sound. ‘Almost Airtight’ is a breezy, slightly dis-jointed track in rhythm, and is the track here that probably best show-cases the band’s sound, and has lo-fi guitars and organs feeding off of each other, backed by heavy, Slint-ish drumming. ‘The Only Good Thing about pollution’ and ‘Dancers and Acrobats’ are instrumentals lasting just under three minutes, and add an extra bit of variety to the album, with organs dominating the former, and the latter sounding an awful lot like Ben Folds Five without vocals. The major feature that makes Kilowatthours so good however, is the songwriting. All proper songs here are superb, and played with a lot of soul. It’s just a shame that the album’s so short (at only 9 tracks and just barely passing the 35 minute mark) and that of the few tracks on the album, three are vaguely pointless instrumentals. Still, that’s a pretty minor flaw in comparison with the brilliance of the songs, and with the addition a few extra songs, this album could easily been awarded the title of Goddamn amazing. Oh well, lets hope that they manage that with their next album.

Track Listing:-
1 A How To Book
2 Welcome To Orlando
3 Completely Normal
4 Last Thursday
5 Almost Airtight
6 The Only Good Thing About Pollution
7 Dancers and Acrobats
8 In My Place
9 Perfect Fool

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Interview (2002)
Kilowatthours - Interview
With an intense emphasis on improvisation, indie rockers the Kilowatthours have drawn comparisions with both My Bloody Valentine and Radiohead. Frontman Chris Renn talks to new writer Adam Day about the band's latest album 'The Bright Side'

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