Something For Kate are one of Australia’s most amazing bands and after a career of releasing deep rock music I did not expect the band to release their best and most intense record seven albums deep into a career that is well into its second decade. A lot of bands this far into their career enter the middle of the road redundancy of a career winding down. “Leave Your Soul To Science” to me is the sound of a band just beginning and it is this new beginning that has renewed my faith in what a vital musical language the sound of Something For Kate is.
I have been a fan of Something For Kate for quite a while now. I was a causal observer until 2001 when they released the amazing and life changing “Echolalia.” I was 17 going on 18 and this album was the perfect sound for my newly graduated self. It was angsty but in that post 21 year old kind of way. It spoke to ever part of my emotional intelligence and I was severely turned on by the lyrics of Paul Dempsey and the overall dynamics of the music. As I’ve highlighted, it was a unique sound and it wasn’t until I discoverd the guitar freakouts / chord movements of Sonic Youth and language of Slint and Fugazi that I truly understood where the band was drawing its inspiration from. Something For Kate seemed to take the sound of bands like Sonic Youth, Slint and Fugazi and mixed it with the singer / songwriter leanings of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. Apply to this a band who has a drummer who clearly has a heavy metal appreciation – in fact the whole band sounds like heavy metal nerds – and you get a hint at the dynamic intensity that was illustrated over the course of “Echolalia” and Something For Kate’s career as a whole. “Echolalia” changed my life and I followed the band religiously from this point.
So in 2012, I was curious just how the band would take the sound back to year zero and take it into the new decade. “Leave Your Soul To Science” was released at a time when I was overwhelmed with lots of new music and I was not too invested in it but purchased due to my commitment to the band as a fan. When I put the album on for the first time, it was made perfectly clear that within the first minute of track one “Star-Crossed Citizens” that this was a band who had re-invented themselves. I was hooked. The production, the guitars, the vocals and the overall narrative and mood of the track beautifully sums up the new energy of Something For Kate and it only gets stronger from here.
After the joy of first single “Survival Expert” passes by we arrive at third track “Private Rain” which is my personal favourite on “Leave Your Soul To Science.” “Private Rain” is post rock guitar movements with dream pop melodies that explode with noise rock crescendos at its finale. It is incredibly dynamic and a strong example of what rock n roll should sound like in 2012.
From here the album builds and moves through beautiful ballads, reflective swoons and subtle punk rock aggression. “Leave Your Soul To Science” is the kind of album that will help you reconnect with the Something For Kate you’ve grown to know and love but it will also serve as the perfect introduction to new generations.
When I listen to the history of Something For Kate – prior to “Leave Your Soul To Science” – I hear a band searching to find their sound. In the beginning it was clear how influential the independant guitar music underground of the 80’s and 90’s was on their sound. As the band matured they moved into an even more sophisticated sound that started to birth its own unique voice. Each new album became more and more shaped by the creative evolution of each member. “Leave Your Soul To Science” is the end result of this evolution and the band manages to remain rooted in the amazing sounds of the bands that influenced their earlier works but have now adopted an even more futuristic edge to the sound.
“Leave Your Soul To Science” is a flawless record and showcases what an important songwriter Paul Dempsey is and how Something For Kate have managed to re-imagine their sound so deep into their career. Anyone who even attempts to write intelligent guitar music needs to consume every inch of this record to see how it is done.
Something For Kate, may they live forever.
10 Cassette Tapes out of 10