Review Summary: A fantastic live recording..
I suppose that when writing an album review it generally helps to know some background information about the release, or even just about the band. Whilst it can be interesting to read a detailed summary of [band] prior to the release of [album], occasionally, that just isn’t possible. Sometimes, part of dat feel of an album comes from the fact that it is a hidden treasure; it is a collection of songs from an unknown band who probably never wanted to become famous and were perfectly content with writings songs and just enjoying themselves.
As for Live Morgantown Sound Radio Show, it is a stretch to even call it an album. Kukim never officially released so much as an EP; all that remains of their work is a handful of recordings of songs they performed on a radio show in either 1993 or 1994. So yes, it isn’t professionally recorded and there aren’t layers upon layers of sound from hours spent in a studio but does that detract from its value? I think not, it’s hard to deny how real, how honest, how refreshing it is to hear a straightforward rendition of a bunch of songs that were probably the result of lazy basement jamming sessions over the course of a few months. Amusingly, between songs there are even interruptions by the radio show host: “Alright, that’s Kukim here, in the studio. They broke a string, we’re gonna be right back…”
Kukim only performed 8 tracks on the radio show that day but as far as I can tell, they are the only songs the band ever performed. Drawing inspiration from bands like Policy of Three
and playing in the style of a less intense, less aggressive Hoover, they would best fit into the bracket of early to mid-90s bands that blur the line between post hardcore and emotive hardcore, unsurprising considering that Jay Demko – the vocalist and guitarist – was also in Lincoln
(along with the drummer).
Most of the songs, notably ‘01’ and ‘07’, have a relaxed feel, with melodic basslines adding some texture to accompany the guitar parts. On the more intense tracks (‘04’ and ‘06’ in particular) there are more atonal chords and definitely a contrast to the softer tracks. This might look like a cop-out but Kukim have songs that are actually extremely difficult to describe unless you have listened to the band. I guess if you were to take Fugazi
and then change the vocals and chill things out a bit a la Turnover you would have the basic feel of some of their songs. I’m almost certain that Kukim were heavily inspired by Fugazi because the style of the songs is similar and as they are from West Virginia, the DC scene was hardly a million miles away.
In the unlikely event of anyone having read my Yaphet Kotto
review, you might recall I mentioned bands with a fantastic ability to seamlessly and effortlessly flow. Kukim are another band to fall into that group and despite being a live recording, the performance is near flawless. Having seen videos of Lincoln’s live performances, I don’t even think this was unusual for Demko bands. It might not be something you would usually check out but give it a go, I hope you will be pleasantly surprised, it really is an extraordinary recording.