Firstly, I’d like to apologise to the band for the time it took me to get this review out. I’ve been in touch in the interim, but four months after receiving the promo copy should be, and is, unacceptable. With that out of the way, on to the EP itself. Although I don’t have the packaging in front of me (left it in Oxford like a twit), I remember it being pleasantly, but not fantastically presented. It’s a very simple digipack – without booklet or anything. However, the presentation is more than adequate for what I believe to be their first EP. The artwork is done in a noir style, with some hideous creature (or maybe it’s one of the members) skulking around in the dark – it’s not the prettiest thing you’ll ever see, but it does suit the music contained therein.
As for the music, the band claim to take influence from acts like At The Drive In, Shellac, Blood Brothers and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Unfortunately, as the only one of those four I’ve heard is the latter, I’m not really qualified to comment on that, but what the music provides is noisy (an attribute provided by the delicious fuzzy bass sound), angular math rock with hardcore influence (but stopping short of full-blown mathcore). From my limited experience within that region (I’m afraid I didn’t really explore much more once I heard Cows), the style is executed adequately but not fantastically. Indeed, although there are some hooks within the music, they are rather transient in the memory, and after four listens to the (fifteen-minute) EP, I could remember nothing save for the general sound and parts of the first and final tracks (the latter of which had a video released – once again, it’s nice to know that a band know what their stronger material is). Indeed, the fact that structures and melody-rhythm associations are often repeated does nothing to help the memorability of the material.
The sound would, I think, be made a little more interesting were the short noisy passages to be extended, either the quieter ones or simply the short passages of crushing atonality. This is not solely for the fact that they provide contrast to the otherwise nigh-on relentless stop-start approach to the music (which, although enjoyable in small doses, should not be repeated for fifteen minutes lest they become nothing but irritating in my humble opinion), but also because they themselves seem well-composed and, in the heavier atonal sections, project an almost nihilistic feeling at the listener. They would also help, I suppose, to distinguish KGC more from the rest of the scene and provide them with a unique style (for what it’s worth, they’re closer to Godflesh than Meshuggah).
Instrumentally, it would be lying to suggest that KGC are anything but competent – although for the most part nothing particularly special technicality-wise is attempted, none of it is particularly simple to play (or at least, none of it seems to be, syncopated rhythms abound in the EP). Furthermore, the production of each instrument is done nicely, and it comes cohesively together as a whole. Despite my gripes above about the composition, the result of this is that KGC would work very nicely as background music were it not for the undoubtedly-intrusive stop-start approach. I must, however, say that there is one weak point instrumentally – the vocalist, although competent, is very generic in approach and really adds nothing to the music. I’d go as far as to suggest that this would do just as well were it fully instrumental.
To summarise, I’d say that although there is nothing inherently wrong with the music of Kabul Golf Club, there is likewise little to elevate them above being ‘average’. Math-rock aficionados may disagree with me, but there is nothing special about this. It’s not offensive – far from it – but I really would not recommend going out of your way to seek it out.
I'm not sure whether I have permission to post a download link, but apparently The Elementary Revolt posted one at the band's request, so I'll link you there.