One Little Indian - 2003 - 80 minutes
The sheer volume of independent and alternative music released in the 1980s/early 1990s was a massively double-edged sword. Sure, we were constantly exposed to groundbreaking sounds, now inextricably bound to our teenage experience. But there was an even bigger downside - countless bands (not through lack of talent) somehow slipped through the net and suffered the fate of being constantly overlooked.
One such band is the Kitchens of Distinction. Step forward, Dan Goodwin (drums), Julian Swales (guitar) and Patrick Fitzgerald (bass and vocals). From various musical backgrounds (experimental through to dubious goth rumblings), the trio released their debut album 'Love is Hell' and an EP 'Elephantine' in 1989. The debut is well represented here with opener 'The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule' and 'Prize', a track considered to be one of the first openly gay guitar pop songs due to its candid references to homosexuality.
Most of 'Strange Free World' is awash with jangly guitar riffs straight off a Smiths B-side. From 'Quick As Rainbows' to 'Drive That Fast', these are the singles that many will remember. The penultimate album, the 'Death of Cool' with its ironic jab at the rest of the music world saw the Kitchens on the wane. For the most part, the album combined their distinctive guitar twangs and Patrick Fitzgerald's angst-ridden pseudo-Bowie vocals. Bizarrely, 'When in Heaven' with its happy-go-luck snare made them sound like James wannabes. There are some odd omissions for a 'Best of…' notably 'Last Gasp Death Shuffle', the single that kick-started their career and was praised to death by the NME. Also left out is the anti-Thatcher 'Margaret's Injection' from 'Elephantine', an EP that won them many fans.
You see KoD were nearly liked by a lot of people. They were always on the periphery because they sounded like some of the finest bands of the 80s - but they just weren't them. Not quite as good as New Order/The Smiths/Echo & The Bunnymen (circa 'The Killing Moon') but too often at best The Associates, at worst Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. By the time 'Cowboys and Aliens' was released and bombed, One Little Indian was itching to drop the band.
This collection is a comprehensive history of a band that nearly was. The Kitchens of Distinction were almost as good (and in some cases, better) than many of their contemporaries, but sadly their role in the big 'indie' scheme of things is remembered mostly as an ancillary one.
Tracklisting: The 3rd Time We Opened the Capsule - Quick As Rainbows - Prize - Sand ON FIRE - Railwayed - In A Cave - Remember Me? - What Happens Now? - Come On Now - When In Heaven - Now It's Time To Say Goodbye - On Tooting Broadway Station - Drive That Fast - Mad As Snow - Polaroids - Prince of Mars