Friday, 1 February 2008

Extra Damage : Kosheen - Damage (UK, 2007) Review supplement

I now have the British edition of Kosheen's third album, Damage. I originally purchased the continental version from Germany, back in April, and you can read my impressions of that CD here. Now that I have filled the void in my collection created by the callous bastards who took this great album from me, I feel like re-appraising it. Looking back at my old review, I now realise that I like the album far more now than I did then.

Firstly, I still think that it is too long, with the British version cutting down on the bonus tracks of the continental one and instead including two other songs as part of the main album; thus it has 16 tracks. Another minor change is that "Guilty" is different: the British disc contains a polished version of the original song, which I had heard through the internet in the summer of 2006 (see here) and which is very close to the version of the song that the band performed at my university back in 2004 (which seems like an age ago now). I like this version slightly more than the more electronic mix contained on the German disc, and I think it goes very well with these songs, despite the use of guitars on it, which is a slight holdover from Kokopelli. The two new tracks are close to the end and liven it up a bit, with "Professional Friend" being particularly brilliant. The only reason I can possibly think of for this gem being denied to our continental cousins is that the electric guitar is very prominent on this track. Although my German friend who saw the band with me in 2004 definitely preferred the heavily synthesised songs, quite why the band/label/management think that Europe as a whole — the continent that gave the world bands like Rammstein, Nightwish and In Flames — are going to object to the use of electric guitars is beyond me.

Even without the differences between versions, my recorded opinions should have to be revised, as I now think the album is my favourite of Kosheen's three releases and definitely one of my favourite albums of the last few years. The quality of the songs is far more consistent than that on Resist or Kokopelli, and the song writing is very good. Some of the tracks stand out hugely for me, and I have come to like them far more over the months: these are "Same Ground Again", "Chances" and "Damage" itself. I love the music in these songs, and although I do not usually praise lyrics highly, the words to those three songs are about as good as anything else I listen to; right up there with my favourite Queen, Faithless and Depeche Mode songs. If I had to evangelise about Kosheen to my friends, these three would definitely be right at the front of the playlist, with only "Catch" and "All in My Head" coming close.

Kosheen are the band I most want to see live at the moment, even more than Faithless. Unfortunately they are not going on tour until May, and that's only to Poland. Hopefully they will follow that up with somewhere closer to my home.

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