Weekly EP Revue: Kate Boy’s catchy pop hooks

Reminiscent of bands like HAIM, with a style that sounds like the love child of Oh Land and Natalia Kills, Kate Boy is certainly moving fast to make a name for themselves.

With a number of various singles under its belt, the Stockholm-based band is just emerging onto the music scene. The members are Kate Akhurst originally from Australia, Markus Dextegen and Hampus Nordgren Hemlin, of the Swedish trio Rocket Boy. All three members participate in writing, producing and playing instruments.

Dark and swirling, their music has drawn the attention of various blogs and alternative music websites. Their latest self-titled EP is largely a continuation of their previous work. Filled with the same heavy, dreary tones and ‘80s vibes, “Kate Boy” is a neat, if not overly impressive piece of art.

The lead single, “Higher,” is also the EP’s strongest track. Rebellious and thumping, “Higher” is as close to mainstream as it seems Kate Boy is willing to go. With a beat and hook similar to artists like Charli XCX, the song plays well into the neo-pop, electro beat realm of music. Its crisp, fiercely unafraid tone is on the edge of revolutionary.

“Self Control,” is in a similar style to the rest of the EP.  Its beat, which drums in and out in syncopated, pulsating movements, is in line with most other synth-pop. In fact, while the song may play it a little safe in its place on the EP, its inclusion is a perfectly acceptable one to provide listeners with a break from some of the more extraterrestrial elements on the record.

With “Northern Lights,” Kate Boy makes the most effort in establishing the band’s musical individuality. Twisting instrumentals and garage band-like vocals allow Kate Boy to explore a space that is certainly on the rise. “Northern Lights” is almost an unleashing in the sense that Kate Boy has created something passionate and absorbing.

Other tracks include “Open Fire” and “The Way You Are.” For “Open Fire,” dance remixes of this song are seemingly inevitable. With the echoing of “oh” being the only constant throughout the track, the frantic beat of “Open Fire,” will appeal to some but may inevitably turn off others due to its titillating melody. Like a virulent Britney Spears, “The Way You Are” preaches imperfection in self-acceptance. It is a unique and quirky track brimming with fiery vocals.

Kate Boy will attempt to do what so many quirky artists and bands have done before it and build up a niche fan base. What is necessary for the fledgling group is an elaboration on its style and direction, whether or not its self-titled EP is enough to do that is a whole other story. That being said, it is a good start.

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