Words by Toby Rogers
Twenty-odd years ago, when the music press first coined the term shoegaze, few could have foreseen its enduring impact. Initially used to describe the bands emerging from England’s southern university cities swapping stage presence for swathes of distortion, it’s become one of the central archetypes of contemporary guitar music, influencing bands as far a field as Aberdeen and Atlanta.
The latest band to fall under the shoegaze spell are Kankouran, four friends who blur the lines between Florence & The Machine and The Futureheads on recent track ‘River’, a full-blooded rush of modern indie-fuzz that’s equal parts Arcade Fire and Adele. Fuelled by the gorgeous pipes of guest vocalist Evelyn Burke, it’s a heady slice of driving alt-rock.
Borrowing the overdriven drone intro from Glasvegas’ ‘Flowers & Football Tops’, ‘River’ picks up where the Scottish hopefuls left off with their eponymous debut. While James Allan’s mob have lost their way amid drug problems, goldfish-bothering and ill-advised adventures in electronica, Kankouran’s radio-friendly re-imagining of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s hooks looks nailed on for success.
Already receiving the cool kids seal of approval following its use on a trailer for uber-hip TV show Skins, ‘River’ has got Kankouran’s career flowing nicely. Tuneful chart-pop underpinned with a firm understanding of British cool, this ought to be massive.