Album review: Kenelis – Remember How It Felt

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ROCK has become something of a dirty word in British popular music over the past few years.

The fall in popularity of mid-90s bands such as Feeder and Placebo has left rock fans in the UK with a clear choice – slap on some eye makeup and mosh to the likes of My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, or follow the herd and bop along to Arctic Monkeys, Razorlight and co.

Gone are the days when pure, heavy rock was cool. The days between punk and britpop, the days of Black Sabbath, Whitesnake and all those guys who knew that if you haven’t got a headache by the end of a gig, you’re just not rocking hard enough.

So hats off to Farnborough’s Kenelis, who are single-handedly bringing back the kind of blisteringly ear-quaking music that has been out in the cold for so long.

The band’s debut album, ‘Remember How It Felt’, released on their own independent label, is a startling piece of work from a group who have built up a solid reputation locally over the past four years, and are now ready to expand their horizons beyond the fringes of the M25.

Before they even play a note, the band have hit upon a familiarly winning line-up – four almost invisible guys behind a feisty, beautiful lead singer who just happens to be a girl. But there is so much more to Mel Sanson than her looks.

She delivers the group’s powerful songs in a rasping voice that switches effortlessly between husky and seductive to an all-out scream that makes you fear for the future of her precious vocal chords.

But of course no rock chick is complete without her band, and Andy Seabrook-Harris, James Chilton, Andy Henry and Sam Franklin have created a complex, layered sound that combines all kinds of influences and yet is unmistakably Kenelis.

Seabrook-Harris’ lead guitar hooks are a particular standout. After a few spins, you’ll swear you’ve heard this record a thousand times, such is its immediacy and high-quality production on show throughout.

What sets this record apart from the work of many other local bands is its texture and subtleties.  On ‘Give Her The Gun’, for example, there are more ideas than your average band manages in an entire album.

A dream-like piano hook gives way to Sanson’s breathy vocals before the band kicks in to beef the song up with a funky breakbeat, climaxing with the eerily catchy distortion-filled singalong ‘Now she’s gonna bury you.’

Sanson’s lyrics throughout the album are extremely evokative, painting pictures of broken relationships with simple lines such as ‘I want to be why you smile’ (‘Drained’) and creating scenes of conflict and angst: ‘I’m not here to make you sad/ Are you sure?’ (Nobody Sees Me But You).

Kenelis are a breath of fresh air for the future of rock music, and a band to keep a close eye on as 2009 continues.

Kenelis’ album launch takes place at the West End Centre on Queens Road, Aldershot on Friday January 23. Tickets £6 from the Box Office: 01252 330040.

Remember How It Felt is released on January 26 on itunes and all major download sites.

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One thought on “Album review: Kenelis – Remember How It Felt

  1. It does seem that everybody is into this kind of stuff lately. Dont really understand it though, but thanks for trying to explain it. Appreciate you shedding light into this matter.

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