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POP MUSIC REVIEW : One-Trick Kitchens Sustain Huge Sound

If you still think of groups like the Smiths and Echo & the Bunnymen as part of some quaint new British underground movement, it’s time to start feeling out of touch: Here comes a new wave of young acts to whom those are the old masters.

Two of them, Trash Can Sinatras and Kitchens of Distinction, played at the Roxy on Wednesday. The headlining Sinatras’ allegiance to the Smiths is obvious, though the young quintet’s spirited performance showed that it’s grown considerably since its noteworthy L.A. debut at Club Lingerie, which was reviewed in December.

The Kitchens, making their U.S. debut, start with Echo--literally. The trio creates a huge sound centered on Julian Swales’ heavily tape-looped guitar--layer upon layer of sustained chords that’s part Jesus and Mary Chain, part “The Joshua Tree.” As impressive as it was, over the 45-minute set the band revealed itself, sonically, as basically a one-trick Kitchen.

And while the sound implies great passion, the group failed to convey it--though it does so on both its independent debut album “Love Is Hell” and the new A&M; release “Kitchens of Distinction.” Part of the problem may be bassist Patrick Fitzgerald’s vocals, which sometimes recalled the dry archness of the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant in a setting where the soaring arc of a Bono was called for. But the implied passion itself implies promise, which gives the band a leg up on many other newcomers.

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