This Is The Kit - Off Off On
Updated: Dec 15, 2021
I discovered This Is The Kit back in 2017, when I bought Moonshine Freeze ahead of seeing them support The National. That album was a surprise hit with me, I had written them off as a bit folky for me, unfairly.
This Is The Kit is essentially a band, based around Kate Stables, previously based in Bristol, but now resident in Paris. The French relocation has changed nothing, and they remain firmly English in their sound, and yes, they are definitely a bit folky, but it’s far too simplistic a label. Weird jazzy sax, resolutely indie guitars, it’s an eclectic mix. And previous albums have been produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey) and Aaron Dessner (The National) - both alternative rock legends in their own spheres.
Off Off On is their fifth album, recorded with producer Josh Kaufman, whose CV includes The Hold Steady, Lisa Hannigan, Josh Ritter, Dawn Landes and The War On Drugs.
2020’s lead single This Is What You Did was the most anxiety-inducing song in a year full of anxiety, a song examining the voices in your own head, and facing up to your own negativity. Yet, despite its discomfort, its repetitive beat and its list chorus (the words tripping over each other,) it was mesmerising. Not a bad way to announce your fifth album...
The rest of the album is as strong. As someone who has spent weeks in hospital watching someone I loved in their last weeks, the lyrics of the title track are particularly poignant, capturing the repetition of the days, the daily cycles - “Wide awake, eyes that move, in this room, sleeping soon”. It’s lovely.
Elsewhere, there are strong melodies (Coming to Get You Nowhere), finger picking guitar (Shinbone Soap) and much needed resilience and love (Keep Going), the latter with its gentle chorus “This love has been ours; this love was ours; this love is still ours”.