steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Kuffs

"Figures, Patterns, and Objects" CDR


Genres: indie pop, indie rock, pop

e-mail the band

Dec 2 - 8 2002

Keyboards have always been in an odd place in rock music. Typically used as accompaniment to other instruments, they rarely are present for anything more than a few beepy background chords. The Kuffs seem to have forgotten this rule, however, as lots of Figures, Patterns, and Objects is heavy in bleepy melodies and atmospherics. But you know what? For the most part, it isn't that bad a sound at all.

Looking at the songs individually, this album doesn't really piece together. Each of the five songs is different from the others, and this variety gives off a sort of scattered feeling, which is a bit of a turn-off. However, the quality of the songs easily makes up for this, causing the album's shortcomings to seem considerably less important.

"On Seventh," the album's opener, starts things off in a dark, creepy mode, and "Portal" continues this, making use of a moody bassline and floating electronic keyboard atmospherics. "Workaday Morning" then comes in, picking things up with a warm, airy melody and vocals that bear an uncanny resemblance to those of singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable, yet somewhat familiar tune. Immediately after comes "Played," which kicks up the guitar distortion and heads for a very Strokes-esque sound (right down to the "bad PA"-style vocals). And then, finally, comes "Steps," the nearly nine-minute closer that starts off quietly and slowly builds up in a flurry of guitars, keyboards, drums, and more of those Rufus-style vocals.

All in all, this is a very promising debut release. However, the band needs to work on finding a stronger, less scattered niche. As well, the songwriting should be made more structured, with less focus on the abstract keyboard burblings. But those things will (hopefully) come with time.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 5 tracks; distributed by the band; released 2002]