I have been waiting for the debut album of the Berlin based band Kool Thing for more than a year – ever since I heard their first EP Light Games. And right at the beginning I can tell you that all my expectations are fulfilled.
For those who haven’t heard Kool Thing yet I would say that their music is a unique mix of synth and electro pop with a dark essence and specific polyphonic layered vocals (which are also the most typical for the band). It is hard to find out more about the band than the names of the two members – Jon Dark and Julie Chance who are originally from Dublin. In 2012 they rose up on the Berlin music stage with their first video to the song "Light games". The clip got famous very quickly not only because of the great track but also because of its character as a video art piece. This is also how I discovered the band – "Light games" was in a video art selection presented at .HBC Berlin (a location that now has a legendary status after its closing in the late 2012). Later the band released their first EP with the same name including also the songs "The Sign" and "This is the Place".
The debut album consists of 14 tracks that lead the listener on a mystical journey through the depths of Kool Thing’s universe. And yes, they are exactly from these few bands that can really create a whole new world in your imagination. Obvious are the influences of synth pop and new wave from the 80s and 90s. But there is no way to talk about music nostalgia here. The band re/creates the old school sound combining it with modern electronic motives and very dark sound establishing on that way a unique style.
The journey begins with "Low Love". First you hear only ghost synthesizers, almost whispering vocals and calm beats that sound more like steps in an abandoned house. The music explodes exactly on 2:22 predicting that you will totally fall in love with the whole album.
After the first two tracks "Light games" gives another more dreamy taste and flows fluently into “the Sign” through an instrumental interlude. Later on the feeling of psychedelia comes to its culmination in the tracks "Vesterbro" and "The Sky, the Sea". The second one is also my absolute favorite and can lead to serious obsession. After the peak the album goes to its natural calm ending with the track "Trees" and the second interlude "Origins II". Maybe not an ending but rather completing the cycle that leads to its beginning again.
In general, the album is highly recommended for everybody who is into synth pop, new and dark wave and electronic music. With their debut Kool Thing offer a real music adventure into a dark mysterious world where the ghostly synths and guitars as well as the layered vocals impact on a deeply subconscious level creating imaginaries.
Since the 4th of March the album is available for download on iTunes and Amazon. Besides there is also a limited edition of CDs – better go visit quickly their Bandcamp page before they are sold out!