Paris-based English folk-pop group This Is the Kit delivers an elegant, seductive cool on Moonshine Freeze | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Paris-based English folk-pop group This Is the Kit delivers an elegant, seductive cool on Moonshine Freeze 

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click to enlarge This Is the Kit

This Is the Kit

Florian Duboé

Until this year I’ve missed out on the beguiling folk-pop crafted by This Is the Kit, the moniker of Paris-based Englishwoman Kate Stables and a rotating cast of musicians from the UK, France, and beyond. The group’s fourth and latest album, Moonshine Freeze (Rough Trade), has led me to catch up on their previous recordings, but nothing I’ve heard quite matches its succinct beauty. Stables sings with a measured grace, melding sophisticated pop phrasing with a crystalline tone straight out of classic British folk tradition. The new record was masterfully produced by longtime PJ Harvey cohort John Parish, who underlines the tension between her controlled voice and twitchy arrangements such those as on “Hotter Colder,” which suggests a modern iteration of Joni Mitchell’s folk-jazz divide. “Two Pence Piece” glows with warmth, a subtle but effective ooh-ooh vocal harmony sandwiched between graceful horn lines casting a gorgeous spell for the singer. Other songs embrace a leaner palette, such as the tender “Easy on the Thieves,” where Stables’s delicate banjo arpeggios are complemented only by muted horns. In every case, her voice remains the center of attention.   v

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