Saturday, 26 February 2011

Life of Live - Kitchens of Distinction

Kitchens of Distinction (either one of the worst band names ever or one of the best I can never make up my mind) were a 3 piece who produced records dominated by both swirling effects laden guitar work (a bit of a pre cursor to the shoegaze bands) and the immensely personal lyrics of the lead singer.

They were one of the few indie bands at this time with (in fact i can't think of another) an openly gay lead singer. There wasn't the kind of campness that came with a lot of pop bands, just the bruising reality of love gone wrong which feels the same whatever your sexuality.

I'd only heard their first single Prize when I went to see them live. I thought the lead singers voice was great and unlike a lot of bands that followed them they didn't forget that all the guitar effects and over dubs in the world didn't mean much without a strong melody.

In fairness i wasn't blown away by them live mainly because I think I didn't know the songs well enough and as a result it kind of became a sea of noise with a lot of the subtlety lost.

One of those strange bands that each lp for me got better but ended up selling less than the one before until the one I liked best was the one that got them dropped.

The lead singer now records more straight forward songs under the banner of Stephen Hero but the lyrics have lost none of their bite

"Your glass is empty just like your head"


  1. I am honestly beginning to think we share the exact same record collection!
    For the past 3 days I have playing Kitchens of Distinction over and over in my convertible to and from work, yes February + convertible = this NYer lives in Tampa, Florida now...
    KOD came along during that period in my music loving history when it was getting really hard to find bands I could really get into. Grunge was beginning to possess the American market after a long run for Hair Band Metal...neither really impressed or caused me to run down to the record shop. By 87 or 88, all my faves were either breaking up or on extended hiatus - Bunnymen, Chameleons, Comsat Angels. British Goth was giving way to Grebo and Metal, and my only refuge was Pop.
    But KOD was like a breath of fresh air. Musically complex and lyrically stunning. There was so much right about them. You are right they got better with every album, but it it Strange Free World and particularly Polaroids and Quick As Rainbows that I can put on a loop
    and listen to for hours.
    I think they are a big influence on bands like Editors, Doves and Snow Patrol. Stephen Hero is wonderful!

    "Something said's been said before but it's often worth repeating"

  2. Hi Echo

    good point about the link to Snow Patrol
    the 2 songs you mention are among their best


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