England's Kitchens of Distinction helped start several alternative music trends during the late '80s, developing a noisy, raucous prototype for the genres of dream pop and shoegaze. The trio was slightly ahead of its time on the modern rock landscape, but the music released across four studio albums from 1989 to 1994 was consistently challenging and distinctive. Often compared to fellow British groups Echo & the Bunnymen and The Chameleons, this band nevertheless produced an infectious yet jaggedly singular brand of alternative rock. Frontman/lyricist Patrick Fitzgerald and guitarist Julian Swales never quite became the underground heroes they should have been, but their efforts certainly register the band as one to be appreciated for far more than its kick-ass, creative name.
1989's debut release Love Is Hell established Kitchens of Distinction rapidly as an important representative of the distinctly British late post-punk era, and the mesmerizing single "The 3rd Time We Opened the Capsule" holds up as a standout track. The tune's swirling guitars provide a compelling backdrop for the dramatic vocals of Fitzgerald, and favorable comparisons to The Smiths and Psychedelic Furs feel like an inevitable, deserved bridge between the lesser-known alternative scene of the '80s and the '90s explosion of that initially underground movement. Though the group boasts a rather condensed catalogue, there's very little wasted sonic space on these albums full of melodic blasts.
- Sample or download "The 3rd Time We Opened the Capsule" here.
- Compare prices on Kitchens of Distinction CDs here.
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Album Cover Image Courtesy of One Little Indian/A&M