Kafka Tamura – Nothing To Everyone
Oh this one you have to download, you really must. ‘Nothing To Everyone’ (released today) is the much anticipated debut album from Kafka Tamura. It’s a beautifully crafted indie pop album that combines uplifting melodies with poignant lyrics.
The band wanted this to be a concept album and the opening song is like the first page in a book you cannot put down.
I caught up with the band in London at a promotional show ahead of the launch, and asked singer Emma Dawkins what music she listens to? She mentioned Lana Del Rey and you can see the connection. Both acts share the same ‘sadcore’ and film noir elements to their songs, but Kafka Tamura have already transcended Del Rey’s work. You can put this down to the deft musicianship of keyboardist Patrick Bongers and drummer Gabriel Häuser, and Emma’s ability to change the mood of a song in an instant with her deadpan style of delivery.
Emma has a quintessentially English voice, crafted in Hampshire on the banks of the Solent. She has an enigmatic presence, with just a hint of Bridget Jones about her.
After an eerie ‘Intro’, that set’s the scene for this melancholy fueled album, the first song is ‘Somewhere Else’. It’s typical of the band’s work, hooking you in with simple stripped down melodies and laid back vocals.
Next up is ‘No Hope’ which opens with tight guitar work giving way to a nice, dare I say it, dance beat.
‘Bones’ has an altogether different feel. It lollops along and has you swaying your head from side to side whilst you reflect on lyrics written by musicians wise beyond their years. Either these guys have a great imagination, or they’ve experienced some shitty relationships already. Either way it’s a great song with a catchy chorus.
The fifth track is the foot tapping ‘Feral Child’, followed by the rhythmic ‘Lullabies’, with its beautifully constructed lyrics giving the song a dream like feel.
‘Bloodstains’ plays around with the pace of the beat, which somehow adds greater emphasis to Emma’s vocals. She begins with her trademark deadpan delivery before opening up to give even more weight to the song.
‘Somewhere Else (Reprise)’ with its solemn piano seems to act as a postscript to the first song on the album.
Despite its name ‘Bruises’ has a tranquil feel to it. There’s some lovely piano here too, which underpins the vocal line and some neat guitar work. It’s a track that leaves you feeling mellower than a Jamaican spliff.
The title track ‘Nothing To Everyone’ sums up perfectly the feel of this album. Insightful lyrics wrapped around gorgeous melodies.
The final track is ‘Liar’. Electric guitars with echo and reverb effects again underpin Emma’s vocals, which drip with emotion. The chorus literally gave me goosebumps.
This album is beautiful in its simplicity. There’s no fuss about the production, no drama in the musicianship and the lyrics are sung from the heart. Bands as diverse as The Beatles and Nirvana have demonstrated the power of simplicity, and Kafka Tamura may just be good enough to be up there with them.
But what I love most about this album is the fact that there is no sugar coating. No attempt at redemption. No, ‘I will survive’ moment. It’s just a wonderfully honest reflection of raw emotions against a backdrop of great music. Kafka Tamura’s real brilliance is that they can do this and leave you feeling uplifted at the same time.
‘Nothing To Everyone’ will surely become something for everyone.