Musicians can spend a lifetime searching for a kindred spirit. Someone with who their musical opinions and tastes run so parallel, it’s like they’ve walked the same path of discovery since the day they first identified that magical core of music. For some people, that search may never bare fruit. For others, i.e. Laurie Erskine and Laurence Hammerton, the prolific minds that make up Club Kuru, it could almost be described as fate. Having released their debut album Giving In only last year, the duo have spared no time in doubling down on their seventies revival, psych-dream foundations and have delivered album number two, Meet Your Maker.
In an era where a common attitude of the general population is “everything has been done before”, it’s up to creative minds to prove that that sentiment doesn’t mean you can’t develop upon the groundwork to deliver something fresh and new while paying a huge homage to what came before. With that in mind, it would be a lie to say that Club Kuru are something completely fresh. They wear their influences proudly on their sleeves. From the moment the drums first enter on By The Windowpane, there’s a feeling of familiarity. That dry, close, snappy drum sound that was the backbone of so many records from the sixties and seventies, is brought forward, charm and all, to the twenty-first century; presented alongside a tapestry of alluring guitar lines, dream-laced synth textures and soothing harmonies. What they present in these songs is a refined ability to work together to create modern soundscapes on top of familiar pop sensibilities, like a piece of modern art set against a backdrop of serene natural beauty.
Introduction is a thirty-seven-second gateway into the journey of Meet Your Maker, like dipping your toe into the ocean. A minimalistic sequence of synth chords accompanied by a French couple speaking in what appears to be a sensuous way to each other (Unfortunately, I’m a philistine when it comes to French; I know as much as bonjour), progressively become more reverb-drenched, to the point where the dream begins, and the album starts in earnest. What follows is eleven tracks of dream-inducing psych-pop. The record has a real sense of purpose. Every creative decision feeling like another deliberate stroke on the easel.
Film Credits is a definite high point, a point in the album that really highlights the pairs ability to pull together different elements to produce something very interesting, a song that shifts and changes. Sounding like its namesake at the beginning, and a charming pop lullaby towards the end. “I wake up in the morning, and it’s like I’ve lived another life”, a lyric that befits the listening experience of this record, a dreamlike journey.
Meet Your Maker never feels truly revolutionary; it certainly borrows from its peers and its forefathers, and it also never left me feeling truly gobsmacked. But what it does so expertly is present Club Kuru’s musical abilities. The duo have perfected so much of their craft. Rich, determined songwriting, impeccable production techniques, wonderful soundscapes, all combine to make an album that stands proud in the light of its influences, but also shines back at them with a glistening, warming glow of its own.