In recent years, R&B has come back in a big way and new iterations of the genre are constantly popping up with labels like indie-R&B, pop-R&B, electro-R&B and many more hyphenated forms of the style becoming a regular mention in music blog posts. It’s very much an expected element of modern music, so when we hear a band or artist bending the rules further, we know it’s worth getting excited about. One example is the Brighton outfit Kudu Blue who have been exploring the realms of R&B, but also electronica, indie-pop and trip-hop, over the past two years. After all this time, a fair few changes and plenty of sweet tunes, the band release their debut EP, savagely titled Shaded.
It features three of KB’s strongest tracks ‘Sugar Lemz’, ‘Drink Alone’ and ‘Enemy’, the last of which is making it’s own mini-debut into the digital music world. Each song on Shaded is a signifier of the British band’s unique style. ‘Sugar Lemz’ shudders with ghostly electronics, a resonance of funk through Tom Peterson’s bass and plenty of soul in Clementine Douglas’ expressive vocal. On ‘Drink Alone’, the pace quickens and the beats become more intricate as we’re rushed towards a repeated plea, “please don’t make me drink alone,” backed by a ’90s dance-style key refrain courtesy of Owen Crouch.
Then we come to ‘Enemy’, possibly the most left-field and sonically adventurous track that KB have put out to date. The opening is harrowing, with alluring R&B vocals and ever-so-gently played keys, bass and a little later drummer Creeda Kirkman steps in with tapped percussion – all of which does nothing to prepare you for what comes after the 2:28 mark. Cymbals shatter and synths alight as Douglas lets loose on the mic.
We can only imagine how brilliant it would be to see any of these tracks played live. For our UK readers, this could very well be a possibility if you’re heading down to this year’s The Great Escape and Dot To Dot festivals, where Kudu Blue have already secured slots.