Kutosis - we are the animal, you are the city

Bill Cummings 19/07/2010

Rating: 4/5

Kutosis! No I haven't developed tourettes, I'm not just dementedly shouting random words here, that's the name of a until now criminally over looked Cardiff new wave-cum-post punk three piece. They've been bubbling away under the surface of the capitol's music scene for about four years now, putting out a single on the REPEAT label and two sold out self released EPs, gaining airplay from the local BBC types Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn.

Last year's introducing stage appearance at 2009's Reading an Leeds festival along with the confidence that numerous live appearances and time spent in the recording studio affords, appears to have given them the platform they needed to perform. Thus Kutosis release their latest opus 'we are animal, you are city' an EP that see's the Cardiff lads hit their straps, for it follows in the line of other twisted noisy South Wales heroes like Mclusky, their offshoot Future of the Left, The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club and more recently Strange News From Another Star.

As you probably didn't know if you're reading this review, Kutosis produce smart, shouty, sneering post punk of the kind that judders with frantic rhythms and 100mph riffage. Indeed witnessing Kutosis live was always a pleasure for what they lacked in movement, messers Ian (vox and guitars) and Jim(bass guitar) stood feet planted firmly to the spot in front of drummer Ben, rattling out addictive new wave tuneage. Sometimes they resembled three men playing in straightjackets and LOOKING VERY ANGRY ABOUT IT INDEED, but what struggled and seethed it's way through their hands and throats was a tuneful angularity that thudded in time with your heart, had you smiling like a goon whilst you pogoe'd up and down much to your embarrassment when everyone starts looking at you.

The undeniable pounding drums and cascading fuzz box of opener 'Small Cities' is (not quite) two minutes of pure power, rawness and feedback, lead vocalist Ian's frantic agitation fuels a gonzo slice of punk rock that twists and turns down back alleys like a rat scurrying its way around one of those scientific experiments and hitting its head on dead ends. Next up is the delightfully angular Wire-like 'Islands' that's built on dancing scratching metallic guitar lines that perch tenuously on a twitching drum beat, and high wire bass lines, while menacing lead licks hove above grey skies, bizarre lyrics that resemble the commands of a sergeant major on the battle field, are barked out amongst the cacophony. ('Soldier on through the mist/occupy and stop!')Just, the highlight of four superlative tracks, is '...the man is a ghost' a spiralling almost uncontrollable slice of buzz saw punky vibrancy is driven by whiplash licks, bounding bass and a Clash-like call and return vocals. An encounter with a spirit is delivered with the tongue in cheek, cut up, absurdity of a man who has had one too many cans of Strongbow of an evening!

Lastly there's 'abstract animals' sleeker than greyhound, and propelling itself across muddy ground on the back of thunderous drums and raw serrated guitars, and vocals that sneer like the Dead Kennedy's firebrand front man Jello Biafra. Marvellous!

Whilst Kutosis' unstoppable sound always cut a swathe live, their recorded output although good, never quite captured the urgent spirit of their performances. So its a pleasure to report that their new EP is their finest work yet, they've more than encapsulated the power, wit and melodicism of Kutosis on stage onto record, whilst the handing us a side order of eccentric characters for good measure. Plus they've distilled it all here for prosperity! Hurrah!