Album Review: The Kut – “Valley Of Thorns”

One of the hardest working bands on the UK live circuit, the Kut seem to be one of those groups who have been doggedly building up their fanbase via playing literally everywhere and anywhere that’ll have them. Having finally seen them live at Croydon Rocks a couple of weeks ago and being impressed by their energetic and fierce live show, this writer was looking forward to giving their new debut album a spin.

Valley of Thorns has been quite a long time in its genesis, with half the songs here having previously seen the light of day on the Kut’s two EP’s to date, Rock Paper Scissors and Make Up. It’s definitely quite a varied album as well – although you’d have to be pretty unobservant to spot the Hole influence in there, the Kut are definitely a lot more than a group of Courtney clones, and are smart enough to put their own spin on the formula to make it their own.

They’re at their strongest on the occasions where they pack in a decent chorus to power the song along – I Want You Maniac, the best song on here, sounds like the Monkees’ Stepping Stone being dragged into the gutter and given a grade A kicking, while the ferocity of Bad Man and Alekhine’s Gun definitely shows a band unafraid to let their inner demons loose, and new tracks like Mind Games and Hollywood Rock ‘n’ Roll pack a suitably heavy punch to keep you interested.

The only slight issue with Valley of Thorns is, as you might expect from an album that’s come together in several stages, that it sounds a bit disjointed in places, kind of like an EP collection rather than an album. Which, I s’pose, is kind of what it is really, so maybe that’s not such a surprise. There’s also the occasional moment such as on Love In The Rush Hour and X-Ray Eyes where they start to meander into dullness a bit. However, the good definitely outweighs the bad here, and I’d happily give this album a mild thumbs-up.

Final Thoughts

"Valley of Thorns" comes across as a bit of a clearing the decks effort with songs from all of the Kut's stages of development so far. However, it definitely shows a bit of promise, and hopefully when this band come to do album number two they can concentrate on making a whole that's a bit more than the sum of its parts. For now though, this isn't a bad first effort at all with enough good moments to show why the Kut are regarded as a bright prospect and have garnered an impressively sized fanbase in the last few years.

Overall Score 3.5