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on 23 June 2003
Given that they have often been perceived as indie also-rans, you could be forgiven for querying the necessity for Capsule, Kitchens of Distinction's new Best Of selection. Indeed, there are a great many bands who are thoroughly undeserving of any such compilation, the contents serving as ego-massage for the musicians or simply to wring further coinage from underperforming back catalogue 'product'. In the Kitchens' case though, the polar opposite is true: they deserve to be commemorated with a multi-disc box set, with handtooled leather binding and lyrics etched into diamond tablets. Or to put it another way, these Kitchens couldn't be much more distinguished even if the units had been built by Thomas Chippendale himself. They are that good.
And to a very large extent, so is this long overdue round up of their most compelling and emotionally charged moments. For those unfamiliar with the Kitchens' music, imagine a template not dissimilar to that forged by Joy Division, The Bunnymen, Chameleons and the other great guitar groups of the 80s. But where these bands created an often 'down' sound, with darkness as their fuel, the Kitchens' dynamic
works in the other direction; most of the songs on Capsule reach a state where bass, drums and guitar mesh into a thrilling 'take off' point capable of raising neckhair and spirits alike. It's there in the gorgeous chorus of Railwayed, it's there in The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule and it's there to the power of 10 in Mad As Snow's final, majestic coda of FX drenched melodies.
So many bands can make a great noise though. The Kitchens were able to fuse this with singer Patrick Fitzgerald's yearning voice and lyrics, another part of their lasting appeal; it takes real strength to make songs that are passionate, and human and honest, especially when the prevailing fashion in the early 90s was for mumbled, opaque vocals signifying nothing. To do this without resorting to histrionics or overblown sentimentality is rare indeed. Well, that's just what they did, with an intimacy and plain poeticism that's like conversation between old friends.
With four albums and numerous EPs to choose from, the track listing on Capsule will always be open to debate, but it does a good job of covering the main phases of their too-brief career. And in the limited edition format the second disc is full of b-sides, alternative takes and some heart-melting acoustic versions of songs, seemingly to prove that it wasn't all about the reverb pedals. No convincing needed, I'd say.
Kitchens of Distinction's influence can be heard in many bands since they called it a day, with current contenders Interpol owing a plain debt to their more glacial moments. If they can help encourage more people to investigate one of Britain's most sadly overlooked bands then it's all to the good. I'm sure that a few gig dates in support of this release would also raise the profile. What about it, lads? Once more with feeling…
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on 29 May 2003
This is a fantastic retrospective of the music of The Kitchens of Distinction. It has some of the best songs from the band's 4 albums and serves as a great introduction to those who are only now discovering my favourite band of the 1980s and 1990s.
Patrick Fitgerald's voice and lyrics are brilliant and are perfectly matched by the swirling guitar sounds played by Julian Swales. I love the sleeve note on this album which comments that it took 24 hours to get the right guitar sound for Sand On Fire (from KOD's 1994 release, Cowboys & Aliens).
The songs themselves are difficult to choose between - they all stand out as passionate, intelligent memorable slices of indie-rock. If I had to pick, I'd say that Come On Now is the most accomplished song with Patrick Fitzgerald urging himself to beat the storm and not be brought down by 'men in suits'. When In Heaven (from the Death Of Cool album, released - I think - in 1992)is also brilliant - it's pop music with the KOD twist added!
The bonus CD is ace too - it makes the album worth buying if you already own the 4 full albums. 4 Men is excellent. A lot of Patrick Fitzgerald's lyrics suit acoustic guitars and there are 4 acoustic versions of songs here. The best is Mad As Snow which is beautiful.
I was due to see the Kitchens play at the Brixton Academy in (I think) December 1994. I had the tickets and was looking forward to it. But I met my future wife a few weeks before the gig and passed up on the chance of seeing them (etc. etc.!)....coming to the point, though, there are 2 live tracks on the bonus CD (Mainly Mornings and Shiver) which are great and make me think that I should have bitten the bullett and dragged my wife with me!!
The album will always remind me of 1992 (the year I first heard KOD) and all that is right about indie music. Buy the album.
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on 28 April 2012
What can you say about this esotoric, ethereal genious that was Kitchens of Distinction that hasn't already been said before? Three individuals coming together in South London in the 1980's to provide a soundtrack for a generation. Think all your favourite 4AD bands, think The Chameleons, not to mention Radiohead and a host of noughties artists who are insignificationly transposed from the sound of Julian Swales beautiful and evocative guitar sound and all those who have tried copying Patick Fitzgeralds' triadic bass playing, and the sparse and funky beats of Dan Goodwin. I was introduced quite late to this band via Strange Free World when it was relaesed in 1991. I was hooked and by a grace of some other being ended up working at One Little Indian records in the early nineties and being hugely fortunate in knowing this fantastic trio. A lot of their catalouge is now hard to find. This is a superb place to start, but if you can get yourself a copy of The Death of Cool this is in my opinion their finest. having said that the four albums they made are all their finest range. No-one could touch them live, I was fornunate to see them many times live and each time was a joyous occaision. Buy this album you won't be sorry. Check out Patrick's current project Stephen Hero and look out for Julians' name on many a TV show as the composer....
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on 3 July 2009
First heard of KOD when I heard and saw the sublime 'Drive That Fast' on the alternative MTV show '120 Minutes' (hosted by Paul King of 'King' fame) in 1991.
Quite why it took me until 2009 to buy the entire back catalogue I don't know but I'm glad I did-this is quite simply unbettered by any 'Best Of' album ever made.
The combination of Patrick Fitzgerald's heart-felt lyrics,Julian Swales astounding guitar and the bring-it-all together under-rated drumming of Dan Goodwin is an absolute winner.
The collection starts with 'The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule'-a joyous up-beat number that is a tasty morsel for what is to follow.Other great up beat moments follow- 'Quick As Rainbows','Prize','Railwayed','When In Heaven','Drive That Fast'and'What Happens Now' cannot fail to lift your spirits even though the lyrics may be completely juxtaposed to the music.
But wait.KOD's melodies within their ballads can absolutely break your heart.
'In A Cave','On Tooting Broadway Station' and the sublime 'Mad As Snow' prove what great ability this band had.
Patrick Fitzgerald is gay and his lyrics reflect that-'Give me his charred heart and give me his fillings' is a monumental moment.Julian Swales guitar landscapes are immense.
I'm neither gay or homophobic.I love great music.
And this is simply great.
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on 1 May 2003
Given that they have often been perceived as indie also-rans, you could be forgiven for querying the necessity for Capsule, Kitchens of Distinction's new Best Of selection. Indeed, there are a great many bands who are thoroughly undeserving of any such compilation, the contents serving as ego-massage for the musicians or simply to wring further coinage from underperforming back catalogue 'product'. In the Kitchens' case though, the polar opposite is true: they deserve to be commemorated with a multi-disc box set, with handtooled leather binding and lyrics etched into diamond tablets. Or to put it another way, these Kitchens couldn't be much more distinguished even if the units had been built by Thomas Chippendale himself. They are that good.
And to a very large extent, so is this long overdue round up of their most compelling and emotionally charged moments. For those unfamiliar with the Kitchens' music, imagine a template not dissimilar to that forged by Joy Division, The Bunnymen, Chameleons and the other great guitar groups of the 80s. But where these bands created an often 'down' sound, with darkness as their fuel, the Kitchens' dynamic works in the other direction: Most of the songs on Capsule reach a state where bass, drums and guitar mesh into a thrilling 'take off' point capable of raising neckhair and spirits alike. It's there in the gorgeous chorus of Railwayed, it's there in The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule and it's there to the power of 10 in Mad As Snow's final, majestic coda of FX drenched melodies.
So many bands can make a great noise though. The Kitchens were able to fuse this with singer Patrick Fitzgerald's yearning voice and lyrics, another part of their lasting appeal; it takes real strength to make songs that are passionate, and human and honest, especially when the prevailing fashion in the early 90s was for mumbled, opaque vocals signifying nothing. To do this without resorting to histrionics or overblown sentimentality is rare indeed. Well, that's just what they did, with an intimacy and plain poeticism that's like conversation between old friends.
With four albums and numerous EPs to choose from, the track listing on Capsule will always be open to debate, but it does a good job of covering the main phases of their too-brief career. And in the limited edition format the second disc is full of b-sides, alternative takes and some heart-melting acoustic versions of songs, seemingly to prove that it wasn't all about the reverb pedals. No convincing needed, I'd say.
Kitchens of Distinction's influence can be heard in many bands since they called it a day, with current contenders Interpol owing a plain debt to their more glacial moments. If they can help encourage more people to investigate one of Britain's most sadly overlooked bands then it's all to the good. I'm sure that a few gig dates in support of this release would also raise the profile.
What about it, lads? Once more with feeling…
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VINE VOICEon 30 May 2003
During their brief existence in the late 80s and early 90s Kitchens Of Distinction never got the kind of popularity I always thought they deserved. Perhaps it was the unwieldy moniker, or maybe people were put off when critics described them as building ‘cathedrals of sound’; whatever the reason the band are overdue a re-appraisal.
Capsule offers songs from the band’s four albums and highlights singer Patrick’s confessional lyrical genius detailing the foibles and failings of relationships he’s observed. He’s not afraid to take inspiration from The Railway Children film (Railwayed), imaginary shopping trips with Marilyn Monroe (When In Heaven) and The Little Prince children’s story (Prince of Mars). Meanwhile Julian’s guitars are fantastic – he draws from an amazing palette of sounds through the extensive use of effects. They just connect with my feelings and take me away on emotional journeys. Quite how integral Dan’s drumming is to the band is demonstrated when he is replaced with an ill-advised 80s drum machine on In A Cave.
It's well worth getting the limited edition CD with b-sides and rarities including the beautiful and sad Elephantiny. There seems no sign of a reunion – unlike The House of Love, Inspiral Carpets et al – so we’ll just have to live with the memory. This compilation is like receiving a photo album full of memories you thought you’d forever lost.
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on 28 November 2010
Unfortunately I only heard KOD for the first time well after they had split up. Their music remains, for me, one of the high points of the 90s; but I will admit I am partial to those guitar drenched sounds of many indie UK bands of that era. Regardless, many of their songs sound as fresh today as they were when I first heard them. "Now its time to say goodbye" and "On Tooting Broadway station" are absolute masterpieces and indelibly stamped in my memory of that decade in music. This was a great band, and I envy anyone discovering their music for the first time.
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on 31 May 2003
It was one of those happenings. I was on amazon one day and typed KOD for the hell of it and saw a collection was due out with a bonus disc of alternate versions. I had already owned all the original KOD albums, but thought the acoustic versions on the bonus disc could be interesting and the same went for the 4 men 12" which has always been one of my favs. I orded and when I received it, not only did I love the layout and packaging of disc one, but also the rarities on disc 2. This is a must have for Kitchen fans and also a must have for those that would like to get introduced to one of the best bands out of the early 90's. Good music is timeless and this collection can stand up to the best of today's groups. It's a winning combination all around, three talented musicians and a poetic singer/songwriter. There were a few songs missing that should've been there, but chances are if you pick up this disc you'll pick up the others. Buy it and enjoy it and listen to it's melodies and meanings....you won't be disappointed!
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on 17 February 2013
After being introduced to a couple of KOD songs, I bought this best of Album. Fantastic music!

Definitely to be recommended....
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on 2 July 2009
This a great album, I wish now I had known of this band before they split.
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