KOTKI DWA //

Staycations (National Trust)

16/20

In a most unexpected yet apt collaboration, Londoners Kotki Dwa have joined forces with that fine British institution The National Trust to record an album seemingly aeons in coming at a series of NT properties. In doing so the band have delivered on the potential they’ve hinted at for years. The instrumentation across the board is flawless, rhythms taut, key stabs engrossing, and vocalist Alex Ostrowski never less than utterly charming. Arrangements are ambitious and intelligent, displaying a distinctive meeting of classicist sensibilities with the band’s idiosyncratic lilt. The record, as with all of Kotki Dwa’s work, is characterised by a refreshing levity and purity, but far from seeming frivolous or flimsy. Themes are timelessly romantic, and the production exudes an atmospheric richness as a result of the unorthodox series of ‘studios’ in which these tracks were captured. Despite an overarching sense of melody, there is an absence of drop-dead hooks here, focusing rather on a progressive sense of loveliness. Perhaps this, along with the band’s unmistakably singular approach (let’s avoid the work ‘quirky’ if at all possible), means they aren’t at the stage of genuine populist appeal quite yet. But if Staycations achieves wider exposure there are plenty of people who’ll fall head over heels for it.

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Words: Geraint Davies

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