Kučka: Unconditional EP

Hype electro-pop outfit Kučka give us a slab of tunes, but do you want more?

- Kučka has really been burning up the hype. From out of a secret, bedroom base, deep in the desert metropolis, Perth, displaced Harajuku girl Laura Jane Lowther and her electro-pop comrades have been seeding the air with crystalline synth singles and popping up on everyone else’s track, keeping the Kučka brand right at the centre of everybody's attention.

That being the case you would’ve heard about half of the new Unconditional EP already, maybe more. In a strange way it feels like I’ve heard more and I think that’s because Laura Jane has been moving out of the bedroom and planing down some of the stranger, experimental edges to the music, bevelling the sharp corners off her sound.

Going back and listening to Kučka’s self-titled seven-tracker from 2012, it’s easy to pick differences. For starters everything’s a lot lusher now: the production fat and warm, turning the crystalline synths from ice into a melting, rippling cascade of sweet sounds. That’s good. This is easily as slick and smooth as other elfin crooners like FKA Twigs or Robyn.

Unconditional is not, however, prepared to take the same chances in stylistic sophistication as you’d have heard from Kučka previously. About half of that earlier EP weaved along on the wonkiest of handmade beats, some of it dissolving into sparse, ambient soundscapes that were practically beatless. It’s certainly OK to give folks something to dance to, but where Robyn’s last few records have relentlessly traversed the history of beats, Kučka spend the largest part of Unconditional at a midtempo saunter and it’s more like a twenty-year update on Sneaker Pimps. A cut like the title-track takes that loungey malaise and tries to break out into a funky nu-disco, but is it enough?

Everything in moderation, but moderation in moderation too, right? After the singles it would’ve been nice to hear some uptempo edm charging up the back half of this EP. Final cut, Recovery, is exactly this sort of thing: speeding, syncopated beats shooting across echoing bass, but it’s finished all too soon. What about some of those nasty bass squelches or that industrial heaviness that infected Kučka the last time I heard them live? FKA Twigs turned to that South American terrorist Arca for exactly this reason: something fierce to cut all the smooth silk she brings.

Amongst the quasi-trap and chill electro-pop there are -as you heard- some infectious jams. It’s the promise that Kučka have forged in the lead-up to this EP. Now that its here, that same promise still lingers, tantalisingly in the air, neither broken nor fulfilled. Give me more Kučka, give me everything that I know you’re capable of!

- Chris Cobcroft.

Album Details

Album Title: Unconditional EP
Artist: Kučka
Record Label: (Midnight Feature / Inertia)