Fresh Stream

Koban — Abject Obsessions


Seething and forever kinetic as it moves closer and closer still to the breaking point, post-punk is in the midst of a full-swing revival, and I’m about as happy as active post-punk enthusiasts are even physically capable of being. One label with no shortage of downright sinister sounds to boast is Avant! Records, home to a consistent stream of desirable darkness, including Koban’s freshest crop, Abject Obsessions. Vocalist-bassist Brittany West and vocalist-guitarist Samuel Bass synthesize a sullen landscape of malaise, sensuality, and inclement rage. The world is heaving its way towards apocalypse, and these are the fatalistic jams we need.

As the Vancouver duo’s most recent work since 2014’s VIDE, Abject Obsessions, while not a massive departure from previous releases aesthetically, audibly proves that Koban has honed its musical and lyrical skills to more fully harness the key ingredients of their sound: the peril of driving head-on towards a black storm cloud, the heavy thickness of electricity in the air before the lightning strikes, the way the wheels lose traction as the milometer’s needle steadily rises. Their efforts result in a sophisticated mixture of classic, if not sometimes comforting, analog synths and drum machines with more evolved, noisy guitars and all that reverb. While both West’s severe snarl and Bass’ bleak drone stand effective alone, the marriage of the two (as can be heard on noteworthy closing track “We Run Red Lights” that also comes complete with a somewhat horrifying video involving malevolent dog creatures throwing a tea party) reaches the optimal blend of gloom and ever-exacerbating aggression. So, in other words: exactly what you want from post-punk tunes.

Koban’s cloud is priming to loom over Europe on their “Honeytour” in October, which already features dates in Spain and Germany. However, they currently still need help finding spaces for a pretty fair amount of dates, so if you are, by some chance, one of our wonderful international readers (or just happen to have European friends with good music taste): you could drop a line. Remember: every time you support a deserving band, a puppy is born. That’s a scientific fact, and everyone should have the freedom and opportunity to brood the night away.

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