You And I Will Never Die
In a recent discussion of the intersections between pop and industrial, we put Kanga forward as an artist capable of lifting from both traditions with a certain sense of ease and comfort. With only a couple of tracks from You And I Will Never Die out at the time, we had no idea how pursuant to that subject the record would prove to be, nor how subtle its appeal would be.
First-time listeners will likely be struck by a pair of seemingly incongruous characteristics – You And I Will Never Die pushes further into smooth electro-pop territory than we ever could have imagined after seeing Kanga’s confrontational performance at DB20 back in 2016, and yet at the same time demands more of its listener than any of her previous work. The overt Nails-isms of the first record are nowhere to be found, nor is the bombastic approach to percussion which guided the Eternal Daughter EP. Instead, Kanga’s vocals are placed front and center, cycling between hazy self-doubt on “Say Goodbye” and wistful loneliness on “Home”.
Each of these tracks slides along a spectrum of darkwave and electro-pop which perhaps brings Black Nail Cabaret or Noblesse Oblige to mind. Icy electro-industrial and nicely timed EBM programming is worked into the corners of tracks like “Brother” and “Violence”, but are finessed to sit alongside the friendlier pads and melodies to the point that someone hitherto unfamiliar with the project would likely never spot them. And more than any particular genre allegiance or bid for club play, it’s the hypnotic allure, mood, and je ne sais quoi of the entire record which cinches things. I mean, I could pitch “Moscow” as motorik dream-pop or make comparisons between “Ritual City” and a handful more recent darkwave acts, but both songs have a richness which only emerges after attuning oneself to the LP’s smoggy yet hopeful vibe and Kanga’s own vocal decisions.
It perhaps sounds contradictory to describe the release of a record so smooth and at times pretty as a risky or controversial move. But, without totally forsaking her roots in industrial, Kanga’s showing just how much range and talent she has beyond those sounds. A finely calculated and effective move towards the big-time, we hope You And I Will Never Die finds Kanga some listeners who’d likely never find themselves perusing this site. Recommended.