The latest compilation from cool for cats label with friends in high places
There’s an old adage that goes along the lines of good bands tend to be friends with other good bands. Or I might have just made that up to prove a spurious point. Thing is, it seems Kitsuné label boss, Gildas Loaëc, knows all about my made-up adage.
As a 19-year-old, he ran a little Parisian record shop and became friendly with a couple of his more regular customers. Turns out the pair were on the verge of releasing a single. French chaps? Debut on Glasgow’s Soma label, perchance? Daft Punk? Yup. Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo invited Gildas inside their tent where he worked in the band’s tight-knit management team for some 15 years. He also co-ran the Roulé label with Bangalter, sticking out the genre-defining Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ along the way.
So it’s perhaps safe to say that Kitsuné, the record label/fashion offshoot Gildas founded in 2002 with Masaya Kuroki, is worth more than a passing glance. A good old poke around the empire is rather rewarding, not least because of the sheer volume of music they’ve unearthed over the years. While there have been artist deals, most notably the success of Two Door Cinema Club, the label mainly peddles one-offs, mixes and quality compilations jam-packed with esoteric pop, off the wall indie and fizzy electronica.
And so to ‘America 4’, the label’s fourth collection of Stateside cuts (bet you’re glad we pointed that out). Of the 16 tracks, as is the Kitsuné way, the strike-rate is very decent. Proceedings open with the excellently quirky Kacy Hill, her juddery vocal and off-centre tuneage will likely hunt you down over the coming months, seeing as she’s in the hands of one Mr K West these days. There’s Metoux’s ‘Neighbour’, a deep, lazy pulse of a tune with a slightly deranged vocal, and we like the kitschy laidback Milk And Bone’s ‘Coconut Water’ and the Eighties ‘Flashdance’ cool of Rocoshei’s ‘Darling’.
Of course, there’s going to be a few off your particular piste. And so it is here. Dutch Party’s ‘Howl’ sounds like it should be picked up by Marks & Spencer or John Lewis for a TV ad, you know what it sounds like already right? Same goes for SteLouse’s ‘Stroll’.
The real killers are saved until the two very last tracks. The Twelves’ ‘Algernon’ channels the ghost of ‘Low-Life’-period New Order and anyone who is friends with that particular ghost is very welcome indeed, but the real star of the show is Lonely Boy’s album closer ‘Future Regrets’. An upbeat retro four-to-the-floor romp turns genius when it drops Yazoo’s ‘Don’t Go’, not a sample mind, the lick recreated. To serve that up as the very last track? Pretty sweet.
All in all, a hugely enjoyable collection, but it says Kitsuné on the tin, why would it be anything else?