Kiev’s Bichkraft - Dima Novicheko and Jenia Bichowski formed Bichkraft in the winter of 2014. They were joined by bassist Serzh Kupriychuk and signed to Brooklyn NY label, Wharf Cat Records who released the cult hit Mascot. Shortly after, Jenia Fenec joined to play live drum machines – this 4 piece recorded the album Shadoof in their hometown of Kiev, Ukraine
The band with 800 - another entry in their unique take on the shoegaze and post-punk traditions. After two LPs for Wharf Cat spent refining their approach, this one stands out, thanks to the overwhelming confidence exuded in each track. And while the band’s penchant for devolving into noisy experimentation remains throughout, it doesn’t take many listens to recognize the album’s strong execution. For it is the songs, coupled with the nervous energy behind them, that propel 800 forward more than anything else. With Carson Cox of Merchandise handling production duties, Bichkraft’s dense riffage and thumping drum machines are brought to the forefront with greater clarity than ever before. Which is not to say that the band ceases to be weird in the most compelling ways.
Album openers Reflection and Ashley are as close to pop-perfection the group has come, with Dima Novichenko’s and Jenia Bichowski’s guitar interplay taking center stage. Yet the whirling breakdown in the middle of Introducing Yourself reminds the listener how willing they are to cede control over to chaos. Sam York of WALL’s anxious vocals guest on the track, as does Elizabeth Skadden of WALL on the freeform and prosaic closer Some People Have All The Luck, a collaboration that feels at home here thanks to both band’s talents for sculpting tense and foreboding soundscapes.
The prevailing mood on 800 continues to be a kind of melancholy reminiscent of the romanticism in 80s new wave, cemented by Jenia Bichovski’s punchy vocal delivery and impressionistic lyrics. We hear him plead with various friends or lovers throughout, reminisce about his youth on 13 Again, and grapple with his complex feelings about Kiev on the My Bloody Valentine-esque Night Lamp. Bichkraft have once again produced a ripping document of alienation and anxiety inherent in our postmodern condition, straight out of Kiev, Ukraine.
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