Returning for the first time since 2016, Only Now Forever feels like a new chapter for The Kvb. The pair chose to produce the album themselves this time around, with that decision coinciding with a newly found liberal attitude towards instrumentation.
In the past, the Berlin-based group would restrict themselves in the studio to what was possible to play live. This time around, the compositions have been given space to breath, with the atmospherics and varying layers handed a license to expand, creating a more experimental vibe that evolves them on a songwriting level. From a lyrical standpoint, the themes all stem from modern anxieties and offer a perfect companion to the awe-inspiring sonic soundscapes.
Whilst the record carries all the traits we’ve been accustomed to from the London-founded duo, it’s still progressive and evidently new in every sense. “This freedom allowed for exploring and refining new ideas and gave us time to delve into endless experimentations at any time of day or night. We tried to focus on creating melodies and hooks that would stay with the listener long after the album ends,” said the band.
Following an intense period touring Of Desire, they reconvened in their home to further immerse themselves into the next stage of their dark, electronic pop development, and then recorded the entirety of the LP in their Berlin apartment throughout last year.
‘Above Us’ was most people’s first taste of the record and uses a OB6 synthesizer to create what sounds like a 21st century version of shoegaze. ‘On My Skin’, meanwhile, also has a synthetic build up to begin proceedings before Nicholas Wood opens up about the anticipation of a new relationship under the backdrop of a catchy melody.
The title track then arrives with its visceral melancholy and haunting guitar line that pulls the composition along, whereas ‘Afterglow’ enters into more atmospheric territory and should transfer brilliantly into a live environment. The same could be said for ‘Violet Moon’ in what is a track the band describe as a “Dark love song set against the backdrop of the apocalypse.”
Kat Day then takes over lead vocals for the most digital-based song on the album, ‘Into Life’. If you were to listen to this song and not know the location of The Kvb, Berlin would be the first guess with its industrial feel and electronic drum beat.
‘Live in Fiction’ and ‘Tides’ then arrive with a late-80s New Order feel, with the latter in particular having an effortlessly catchy bassline. ‘Cerulean’ and its motorik core then brings proceedings to a close as it morphs from a pulsating krautrock number into a dreamy synthetic soundscape.
It caps off what is The Kvb’s finest album of their career. One that morphs between a variety of genres, lyrical themes and sonic contrasts, which all come together to create an ambitious 45 minutes of dark wave experimentation.