Nottingham, often famed in a musical sense for its electronic prowess, has undergone something of a resurgence in guitar music over the past couple of years. Ears have pricked up as the likes of Jake Bugg and Dog Is Dead (to name an iceberg’s tip of local quality) have become more accessible to a national audience. Some of this metaphorical glacier is contributed to by Kappa Gamma: a Notts based band comprised of five members. They present us with an array of technically crafted, angular work, with some elements akin to Foals or even the latter work of The Maccabees.
Intelligent in the delivery of their arrangement, their musical structure defies expectation, but all sounds great in the moment. The strength of their current releases demonstrate a flair for going in new directions and doing it well. Whilst their instrumental qualities quickly distinguish them from many other bands, who might commit to a more linear writing structure, Kappa Gamma also add to their sonic presence by offering strong vocal execution. Male and female harmonies are a complement to an already resonant musical backdrop. All in all, the ‘neat busyness’ of their layers give the stereo field a sense of being almost ubiquitous, without losing sight of what the song is as a complete package.
Their single Just Another achieves the aforementioned in a brilliant way. Opening with a stripped-back rendition of what will later present itself as a huge chorus, we’re gripped by the line ”you controlled it”. The guitars have a biting edge, accompanied by no-nonsense, propelling drum track. Listen to this and enjoy that anthemic crescendo that is born out of the (initially sparse) middle-eight.
Wildfire carries another tone (namely being less sorrow-laden), providing a danceable shuffle twinned with a pitch bending, moaning guitar breakdown. After approaching its end, just when it appears that all is over, a golden ten seconds follow, with an oozing math-rock riff that ices the proverbial cake.
You would be forgiven for expecting a young, talented Kappa Gamma to go on to bigger things. They’re reeling off the shows and have just done Dot-to-Dot Festival, Tramlines and Y Not Festival. With more tracks such as One Horse Open and The Duke now also on the wonderful web, we can safely say they are one of the strongest acts swimming in Nottingham’s gnarling undercurrent of great music – and they don’t need armbands.