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Music Review

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Valley of Thorns


Artist: The Kut
Label: Pledge Music
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 01 June 2018

The Kut is a home-grown band consisting of trio Princess Maha (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Stella Vie (Bass & Backing Vocals) and Diana Bartmann (Drums & Backing Vocals). They are described as Trash Rock in the vein of Courtney Love and Hole. Kerrang! magazine featured the band as one of the Breakthrough Acts of 2017. Singles, EPs and tour dates lead up to the release of their debut album, Valley of Thorns, via Cargo and Pledge Music. It is produced by James Le Rock (Def Leppard/White Zombie). The album has just charted at Number 7 in the UK Rock Album Charts. They embark on a promotional UK tour in late July 2018 culminating in a gig at The Lounge – London on 19th August.

The Kut were apparently finalists of the UK Songwriting Contest 2017, and semi-finalists of the International Songwriting  Competition, so they’re no slouches. In fact, they’ve certainly put themselves about – in the nicest possible sense, touring heavily and taking in the festivals such as Download, Camden Rocks and Hard Rock Hell. No mean feat for what is essentially a new band. Sleaze and Gutter Rock is the order of the day. I want to mention Hanoi Rocks, although not as diverse in the songs as that great combo. It’s probably closer to the Andy McCoy off-shoot band Cherry Bombz.

At first I could appreciate the rocking riffs and the often angry energetic vocals; however, I’m not certain after playing this through a couple of times that it stirs the emotions or spirit. It’s sort of enjoyable without ever making you exclaim, ‘Oh Yeah!’

'Mind Games' is a strange song to kick off the album with. A middle-of-the-road pace and almost sleep-inducing vocals is hardly an inspiring start. 'Hollywood Rock n Roll' has a little more drive and energy but is restricted by the lyrics. 'No Trace' has an almost Goth Metal pace but with fuzz guitar and a return to sleepily sung words. 'I Want You Maniac' screams out to be a single, with its rocky riff, catchy chorus and variation in the vocals.

With a moderate pace 'Rush Hour' still manages to be a good song, albeit with an over-familiar structure. In 'I Am Vain' Princess Maha lets loose with the first meaty guitar solo of the album and, although it’s not the best in the world, it gives the music the energy which it severely lacks in a percentage of the tracks. 'Alekhine’s Gun' is a strange one, but inclusion of the screamed vocals works well. 'X-Ray Eyes' is another Commercial Rock piece which I can well imagine joining 'I Want You Maniac' as a single. 'Bad Man', for me, is the stand-out song of the album, being hard-edged, catchy and angry.

I’m no prude but I always consider using expletives indiscriminately as being severely lacking in vocabulary and imagination. They are probably only there to gain the front cover a Parental Advisory Explicit Content sticker. Mario wraps-up the proceedings with a repeating riff and a building energy.

This is a pretty good Rock piece, but it is middle of the road. I think The Kut will find a fair amount of followers; for me though it fails to light the touch paper or drag you screaming along the ground behind a bolting horse. Buy Blood Command’s Cult Drugs and you’ll see what I mean.


Ty Power

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