Kitchens of Distinction absolutely HAS to rank as one of music’s all-time overlooked gems. Props to my sister Terry Mitchell for introducing me to this great band years ago after she saw them play in California. She got home, handed me a shirt she got me from the show and simply stated, “these guys are awesome.” I went out and picked up a copy of what was then the band’s latest album Strange Free World.
This trio was creating beautiful, atmospheric, dream pop and shoegaze long before those genres became commonplace in the U.K. KOD started playing in 1985 and released their first single “The Last Gasp Death Shuffle”, the only time guitarist Julian Swales manned the microphone for a Kitchens of Distinction track. Bassist Patrick Fitzgerald was the man on the mic from then on and his trademark crooning over the wash of lush guitars created by Swales was stunning. Add the delicate percussion from Daniel Goodwin and the formula was complete. Strange Free World blew me away and still does to this day. The band released its third album The Death of Cool in 1992 and that U.S. tour was my one opportunity to see them live, a stellar opening set for Suzanne Vega at the Celebrity Theatre.
Kitchens of Distinction released one more album in 1994, Cowboys and Aliens, before hanging it up in 1996. I was bummed but had in my music collection now three great albums, one good album and one outstanding live memory. Lo and behold though, in 2012 Patrick Fitzgerald announced that he and Julian Swales were writing new material together and sure enough in September 2013 Folly was released. Great album and although the trio is adamant there will be no actual tours I’m satisfied just knowing they are playing together again.
Please watch this video for “Quick as Rainbows” from the Strange Free World album. Epic. Also, make a point of reading this interview with Fitzgerald and Swales from September 2013 when Folly was released.
Album Inspiration: Strange Free World